Ex-White Sox Pitcher Blasts Former Team’s Culture Problem

Now a Yankee, Keynan Middleton is critical of Chicago's "no rules" culture

Keynan Middleton pitches for the Yankees against the Astros.
Keynan Middleton is happy to be a member of the Yankees.
New York Yankees/Getty

A relief pitcher who was able to trade in his White Sox for Yankee pinstripes ahead of MLB’s trade deadline took the time to rip into his former club after pitching two scoreless frames in a loss to the Astros on Sunday.

New Yankee Keynan Middleton, who joined the White Sox earlier this season after signing a minor-league contract, told reporters that Chicago had a big culture problem and that the team did nothing to discipline a pitcher who was seen napping during games and also skipped fielding practice.

“We came in with no rules,” 29-year-old Middleton said. “I don’t know how you police the culture if there are no rules or guidelines to follow because everyone is doing their own thing. Like, how do you say anything about it because there are no rules? You have rookies sleeping in the bullpen during the game. You have guys missing meetings. You have guys missing PFPs [pitcher fielding practices] and there are no consequences for any of this stuff.”

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It’s not difficult to believe Middleton’s account of how things are handled in Chicago, as the White Sox have a history of having somewhat of a lawless clubhouse. Remember, this is the same franchise that allowed the 14-year-old old son of retired slugger Adam LaRoche to spend hours in the clubhouse before staff members and other players complained, as well as the same team that only suspended former ace Chris Sale, who is now a member of the Red Sox, for five games after he took a knife to the entire club’s set of throwback jerseys because he didn’t want to wear them.

The White Sox also employ Tim Anderson, one of two combatants in a fistfight at second base that led to six ejections on Saturday night during a 7-4 win for Chicago over the Cleveland Guardians. Chicago also let former manager Tony La Russa remain in charge of the team after he was charged with his second DUI. La Russa resigned prior to this season after leading the White Sox to an 81-81 record in 2022. This year, the White Sox are 45-68 under first-year manager Pedro Grifol and there’s no shot Chicago will make the postseason.

The odds for the Yankees (58-54) aren’t that good either, but Middleton is still happy to be in New York and leave the dysfunction in Chicago behind him. “The second I found out I was traded, I shaved my face,” he said. “I was ready to play by their rules because all I want to do is win games…You know how to act [here]. You know not to be late and you know there are consequences if you are late.”

The apparent lack of consequences in Chicago may be a reason why the White Sox are one of the worst teams in the American League.

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