Following up: White Sox give notice of first staff reductions

If Jerry Reinsdorf’s swipe at the Major League Baseball Players Association during his interview with Bob Nightengale rang a bit hollow, perhaps it’s because the labor picture was a secondary consideration for the availability.

Two days after Reinsdorf told Nightengale that his losses are in the nine-figure range, Ken Rosenthal reported that the White Sox are making major changes to their front office.

Reinsdorf’s reputation as one who is loyal to the rank-and-file employees is well earned, although this isn’t the first time that he’s gone to Nightengale to bolster his reputation in advance of news he’d rather not deliver. The final week of Robin Ventura’s managerial tenure turned into a mess for that very reason.

In this case, however, there seems to be no such exacerbation. Dave Yoakum, one of the to-be-dismissed scouts, opened the door to fan backlash with his characterization of Reinsdorf, but he called it how he saw it nevertheless.

There probably isn’t a graceful way to navigate this situation. I imagine it’s hard times for Reinsdorf’s balance sheet, and not just because he might be publicly counting “profits not made” as “losses” the way owners through history have framed it to get fans on their side against players. From adding scouts while organizations cut theirs to stumping for the league’s Non-Union Personnel Pension Plan as the league eliminated it, the White Sox have invested in their front office employees, and so it’d be out of character for Reinsdorf and the Sox to hide behind the pandemic for nefarious purposes.

James Fegan describes the layoffs as an across-the-board reduction, rather than an aggressive streamlining/optimization.

A source indicates that the cuts occurred among a cross-section of experience levels both in baseball and with the White Sox. Team officials reiterated that the staff reductions are driven by the financial impact of the pandemic, and do not represent the team’s attempt to emphasize video analysis and devalue in-person scouting. […]

When commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Uniform Employee Contracts on May 1, it granted teams the ability to furlough or reduce pay in response to a national emergency. In the White Sox’s view, Reinsdorf displayed his renowned care for his employees by declining to take such steps over the last few months before reality inevitably set in. He is still paying departing employees for the next three and a half months. These job cuts only affect baseball operations, and do not to speak to the status of employees or the $400 per week stipends paid to minor leaguers, which are still being reviewed on a month-to-month basis. Those payments seem likely to be paid through August.

It suggests a future where the White Sox fully restore the ranks in all departments if everything returns to normal, albeit with one minor league affiliate removed. But as long as people are prohibited from gathering en masse and others are prohibited from doing their jobs, I don’t really know what’s reasonable to expect. Three and a half months’ notice seems decent in both definitions of the term.

* * * * * * * * *

A day after his filthy intrasquad start, Dylan Cease provided reporters with a self-assessment a week before Opening Day. As you can imagine, he likes how he looks.

“To have an outing like that before the season is huge,” Cease said. “I feel like I’m as confident of a player as I’ve ever been right now.” […]

“If I can take that into the regular season, I’ll be very happy,” Cease said. “I think (Thursday) night, I did it more consistently with my high-end stuff. Sometimes I don’t have my nasty breaking balls or if I do, I’m bouncing them. Yesterday it was a combination of having the A stuff and the A command. I’ve done it before but nothing as consistent as that. I’m looking to take that into the season.”

And Daryl Van Schouwen got Steve Stone’s reaction:

‘‘It was the best I’ve seen him,’’ said broadcaster and former Cy Young Award winner Steve Stone, who watched the performance on TV. ‘‘He located his fastball both up and down, the occasional change was good and both breaking balls were exceptional. No hitter could read the spin out of his hand, leading to very bad swings.’’

* * * * * * * * *

Outbreak Outtakes

*Yasiel Puig did not sign with the Atlanta Braves after all, as he tested positive for COVID-19 during the physical. Puig says he’s asymptomatic and will be ready to join a team after, so he’ll be a compelling figure for teams facing corner outfield shortages.

*The Blue Jays will have to play somewhere besides Toronto. Even though the city and provincial governments approved the team’s plans, the Canadian federal government denied the request due to the frequent travel back and forth over the border.

The readiest fallback plan is the club’s spring training site in Dunedin, Fla., but spending more time in Florida than necessary isn’t smart right now. Buffalo is workable in terms of geography, but the team says that lighting, clubhouses and practice spaces all need improvement.

(Photo by Paul Bergstrom/Icon Sportswire)

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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I think “decent in both senses of the word” is a great way of putting it, well said. I can’t find it in me too be upset at the whitesox here. Theyre going to pay these team employees for a full baseball season and are giving them 3 months notice. It still sucks. But I can’t say it’s evil.

As for the blue jays, how about a place like Charlotte? That’s an mlb ready stadium on the east coast.


We’ll know it’s a go if they sign Jordan Danks….


You have no idea how hard I’ve looked for that photo.


The first venue I thought of for the Blue Jays yesterday when the decision came down was RFK Stadium in DC. I’m not sure what would need to be done to get the field ready, but the Jays could adopt the protocols the Nationals have to do to comply with local public health regulations.

The second venue I thought of was Turner Field. There may be similar issues getting the field into shape given the facility’s other uses, and there’s the matter of whether Atlanta wants more people traveling to it right now.

Venue three is in Arlington Texas, in the park the Rangers just vacated, but that would require AL & NL East teams to travel further afield.


There is no way RFK is MLB playable these days. It was pretty decrepit even in the last couple years of DC United playing there and hasn’t hosted any professional sporting events in over two years now, to the best of my knowledge.


Yeah, I don’t even know if it’s hosted a concert in the past couple of years. I’m a little surprised it hasn’t been razed yet.


Normally, Chicago would work as a base for Toronto, but it looks like the Sox/Cubs schedules have a lot of overlap this year (i.e. not the traditional Cubs-at-home, Sox-on-road standard).


I was thinking NYC or Chicago. NYC would be nicer for a team in the East. Use both stadiums as needed.

lil jimmy

Kannapolis has a brand new ball park sitting empty, right in the middle of everything.

Trooper Galactus

NC has been adding over 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 daily for the past week. Not sure if the Jays are eager to play someplace where things are getting out of hand like that. I’d think someplace a bit more isolated and in a state without a gigantic outbreak (Great Falls?) might be preferable.


Great Falls is quite a hike for those East Coast teams. I suppose NY is a decent option for everyone (although it’s safer in Chicago right now).


Reported they want a major league park. Otherwise, Buffalo may be as good as anything


Did anyone think the lighting at Wrigley last night was sub-par? Happ wasn’t great but centerfield looked a bit dark (as did the area in the stands in and around home plate).

lil jimmy

Something sub-par in Center field.
What is AJ Happ? for 400 Alex!


Yeah normally I’m in the “pitchforks for Jerry” camp but it seems like they’re handling this situation a TON better than other teams. Paying people through October, paying minor leaguers, announcing layoffs well in advance.