Following up: Luis Robert’s status once again unclear

Even by the White Sox’s tattered standards for managing banged-up players, Luis Robert stands out, because he’s now in his second half-active state of August.

He’s been injured since jamming his wrist into Jonathan Schoop’s leg last Friday, but he’s not on the injured list. He’s available, but not today, and probably not tomorrow, either. He’s Schrödinger’s Pantera.

It’s created a situation where I wasn’t particularly excited to see Robert Wednesday night when he pinch-ran for Eloy Jiménez following a one-out walk in the eighth. Pinch-running isn’t the greatest value proposition for restarting the clock on backdating an IL stint, and Robert wasn’t likely to run considering he injured his wrist attempting a steal of second.

Sure enough, Robert moved to second base on a José Abreu single and no further, which Jiménez could’ve done. The fact that Jiménez was DHing meant that Robert couldn’t even provide a defensive boost.

The only way it would’ve felt worthwhile was if running Wednesday served as a runway back into regular starting. That doesn’t sound likely.

Earlier this month, the White Sox activated Robert from the IL despite a rehab stint that was limited to one game due to a virus. That was another off-and-on reintroduction to the lineup, but he seemed no worse for the uneven wear, going 9-for-29 with a pair of doubles and a pair of walks over seven starts.

This one seems trickier, because while lightheadedness can disappear, wrist injuries can linger. It’s already overstaying his welcome, and it’d be a lot more concerning if the Sox had anybody more compelling to take that roster spot. Adam Haseley doesn’t count, because even if he were hitting better .209/.285/.409 over the last two months, Tony La Russa doesn’t seem all that enamored with his skill set. Perhaps for good reason.


Johnny Cueto might have saved the White Sox’s season twice-over. He’s running a 2.78 ERA while giving the Sox 6½ innings a start, he’s making every start, and he’s doing it for $3.5 million. His surplus value is so significant that you could pretend that he’s making the $18 million owed to Dallas Keuchel, and you still wouldn’t take it for granted.

But I’m also wondering where the White Sox would be if Cueto hadn’t called out his teammates for a lack of fire.

Maybe somebody else would’ve done it, because José Abreu hinted at a larger dissatisfaction by telling reporters that he could only account for his effort level, but Cueto put it in blunter terms by openly questioning the Sox’s level of desire.

Because La Russa is his team’s defense lawyer, his first instinct was to deflect and deny. At the same time, Liam Hendriks said that La Russa called a meeting among team leaders two days later to discuss any issues. La Russa said the issues weren’t connected, but I’ll refer you to the first sentence.

Hendriks said that the meeting gave Abreu a platform to follow up on what he’d alluded to before, and one line made me laugh.

“One thing that was stated by Abreu was how our confidence turned into cockiness,” Hendriks said. “That’s one thing that several have said is the complacency level is we just expected to come in and roll over like we did last year. That hasn’t been the case. That was not necessarily due to other teams blowing us out of the water or anything like that. It’s been to our own detriment of us thinking we can go out there and roll over teams and be expected to win.

“But I don’t think we are too far on recalling and remembering the times we did beat our own division rivals rather than how hard some of those games were to win and what we had to do in those games to actually win. Now looking back on it I think a lot of guys are realizing it’s not just an easy thing to be able to go and win the division two years in a row. That’s something hopefully we can get back.”

The White Sox’s rich history would suggest that winning the division two years in a row is the hardest damn thing in the world, because they’ve never done it.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
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.

Articles: 3788
31 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
dwjm3

This is where valid criticism of Tony comes into play. It is his job as manager to sense complacency in the team and find ways to motivate him. Thankfully Cueto did his job for him. Cueto strikes me as a pretty analytical guy. He probably learned a thing or two about how to push a team from Bochy.

Augusto Barojas

It’s not the only instance where a veteran player has spoken out to motivate a team, but it is quite pathetic when this is the only time the team has played with any sense of motivation in probably a year and a half. It’s Tony’s JOB, not Cueto’s.

lifelongjd

Totally agree with dwjm3. LaRussa has never seemed to have a sense of what is going on inside his own clubhouse and has shown weirdness and arrogance on how he addresses performance issues. For whatever reason, it seems that Abreu has taken a lesser role this season in terms of leadership. Whatever, I just hope the meetings are over with and they can stop talking about ‘turning a corner’ and keep winning games.

The Robert situation is just so Sox. He’s taking up a roster spot but is unplayable but then he plays. Sure would have been nice to have options to pinch hit other than Sheets last night.

Hoping for a solid outing from Gio today and an unexpected series win!

BenwithVen

I honestly don’t think it matters if La Russa was the main driver of the meeting or not. KW called the entire team out over a month ago in the clubhouse over the same issue and it amounted to nothing. A player with standing needed to be the one to say it. It just sucks that it took until August for it to happen.

gibby32

With respect to the usage of Robert, I had not thought about the reset of the clock for any IL stint or the fact that Eloy was the DH. Indeed, I very loosely had thought that last night’s was a game that LaRussa had not fucked up. It demonstrates that when you give LaRussa the benefit of the doubt, you are probably making a mistake.

#3 for HOF

Isn’t Hahn responsible for who is on the 26 man roster and if and when someone needs to be put on the DL?

I can’t stand La Russa either but he’s gonna play whoever is available that gives him the best chance to win that day.

gibby32

I doubt that IL stints are the exclusive responsibility of any one person. The training staff should identify when the player will be available. The GM and Manager decide whether the period of unavailability is worth keeping the player on the active roster, as opposed to getting a replacement. The status of Robert is murky; if he goes on the IL for longer than he had to given LaRussa’s use of him in a marginal situation, that’s on Tony, at least to some extent.

Augusto Barojas

There have been more instances this season where La Russa has not played whoever would give them the best chance to win, or put players in the right spot in the batting order, than I can count on two hands.

Alfornia Jones

In Hahn’s corporate weeny world, he thinks he’s just placating his geriatric manager until the end of year review meeting with JR. Tony wanted me to sign this guy and that guy, Tony said don’t put so and so on the IL and play short handed for the 20th time this season, Tony Tony Tony…

The end result is you have a corporate stooge GM who has no interest in fielding a functional roster and there won’t be any place to hide.

upnorthsox

If he’s on the active roster then he should be available to play. EOS. If you don’t like it take it up with the GM.

gibby32

That is way too simplistic. EOS.

upnorthsox

kneejerk blaming LaRussa is so complex. Whatever.

gibby32

There are quite enough problems with this team such that responsibility can be placed at the feet or several people. LaRussa is sufficiently bad, however, that it is quite tempting to blame him for more than his share.

Dude 7777

I’d like to see a side by side comparison when fans criticize managers. It’s widely believed that Kevin Cash of the Rays is excellent, alchemizing a pauper’s roster into postseason royalty, year after year. What does Cash do, that LaRussa doesn’t do?

Qubort

Cash doesn’t call for an intentional walk in a 2-1 count. Cash doesn’t have his closer be the Manfred Man. Cash doesn’t bat the worst player on the team 3rd. Cash doesn’t fall asleep in the dugout. Cash doesn’t agree one of his players deserves to get hit by a pitch. Cash calls for an Uber if he’s been drinking.

soxygen

Wasn’t it a 1-2 count against the Dodgers? That’s even more ridiculous than walking him on 2-1.

HallofFrank

Honestly, do you believe that as a principle? Set this specific situation aside. Suppose Liam Hendriks gets a blister and can’t pitch for 5 days. Do you think they should IL him and call up whatever random reliever from AAA?

I fully grant that the Sox have bungled injuries plenty of times. But it’s easy to want to find a replacement for a star until you start thinking about who the replacement would be. Even if it means 2-3 games more of Luis Robert, I think I’d rather play a man down than find a replacement player who’s below replacement level.

upnorthsox

Do I believe that if YOU have a problem with someone being used who is on the active roster then YOU should blame the one who is responsible for that person being on the roster. That person is the GM. If you consider that a matter of principle issue then so be it.

The issue brought up had nothing to do with whether Robert could not pinch run (which would match your Hendricks blister analogy), it was whether his IL clock being reset was the managers fault and whether that should even be the managers concern.

And fyi, it had already been stated before the game that Robert was available to play.

HallofFrank

Sure, all I’m responding to is this: you said “if he’s on the active roster then he should be able to play.” And I’m asking if you really believe that’s true. If a guy is unavailable for, say, ~3 games, do you think he should be IL’ed no matter what?

Adam

It boggles my mind when I keep seeing Sox players talk about letting complacency set in. From what!?!? It’s not like they won or even went to the World Series. They won the weakest division in baseball and proceeded to get smoked in the playoffs. That’s their satisfaction level? That should fuel you to work harder. You got a taste, now you want the whole thing. Complacency from a first round exit….ffs

Dude 7777

I think the press is being too kind to everyone, including Anderson. He seemed to be unfocused, swinging outside the zone and phoning it in well before his recent injury. Was he pouting about his mini-suspension? Great seeing them win 5 straight and put away the Astros twice, but they have to maintain that fire. Playoff intensity. Good to see the fans at home going nuts over the comebacks.

Adam

I think a study needs to be commissioned comparing this team to the fictional Indians of Major League II. That team also struggled with complacency before a hot second half comeback.

In terms of casting I got:
Giolito as Wild Thing whose lost his terminator.
Moncada as Willie Mays Hayes since he spend his offseason focused on his music
Robert as Cerrano swinging at breaking balls away
Seby as Rube Baker to Yasmanis Jake Taylor

I could see Cueto giving the speech now

“Yaz, it’s not your job to make excuses! That’s all you guys go good. It’s either an arm thing….or a leg thing…or a spiritual thing….or a psychological thing….or a heart attack!”

And our beloved Cueto has had enough and keels over.

Holland23

We all know Charlie makes all the pinch-running decisions, so we should discuss Roberts pinch-running last night with him.

charlie

I was fine with it given a one run game. Knew he wouldn’t be stealing but could have scored from 1st on ball in gap or from 2nd on a hit had he gotten there. My problem was with our fearless leader hitting Sheets for Engel and not Harrison or Romi given if Engel gets on he would hopefully try getting us a huge steal.

As Cirensica

Elvis Andrus is coming to the White Sox. He will play against Cleveland.

HallofFrank

I’m probably more excited about this than I should be. Not only does he instantly become one of the better all-around position players on this team, but by all accounts he seems like a good clubhouse guy and a fun personality. Great sign!

LamarHoyt_oncrack

He’s better than friggin Garcia.

BenwithVen

White Sox actually did the obvious thing and signed Andrus, per Passan. He’ll be with the team tomorrow.

Augusto Barojas

Amazing that the Sox got significantly better because Leury goes on the DL. That may have even been true before they signed Andrus.

jorgefabregas

Tony taking advice from Charlie, and Rick taking advice from the rest of us crying out for Elvis Andrus. Save us, Elvis!

chipporter

He’s Schrödinger’s Pantera.

That right there, that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.

However, not accurate, because I observed him and his state of china dollness remained the same.