The baseball world was abuzz with the retirement news of Adam LaRoche, and then the follow-up news on why he retired. The thought pieces are being written and writers are weighing in on family in the workplace, priorities, and even the salary cap implications of the decision.
One thing I have not seen, however, is a highlight of the fact that GM Kenny Williams is in the center of this story. If players complained about Drake LaRoche being in the clubhouse (and that seems to be an almost certain part of the story) then it was the GM himself, who the players went to, that handled the situation. He knew that it would probably be controversial, that the negative press would focus on him, and that he would be vilified by certain parts of the public. Despite that, he talked to LaRoche, he did the interviews, and he has been the face of a side of this story. Event if other members of his staff or the ownership were behind this decision, he has taken on the decision.
Regardless of whether he was right or wrong, or somewhere in between, Williams’ decision to embrace this decision is a good example of how management can handle a controversy without it spreading to other aspects of the organization, and undermining a team’s goals.