Rozner: Sale won't be issue for White Sox, Reinsdorf

  • White Sox ace Chris Sale had plenty to say about the Adam LaRoche situation this week, but there is no reason to think team owner Jerry Reinsdorf is going to punish Sale for his absurd behavior.

    White Sox ace Chris Sale had plenty to say about the Adam LaRoche situation this week, but there is no reason to think team owner Jerry Reinsdorf is going to punish Sale for his absurd behavior. Associated Press File Photo/September 2015

 
 
Updated 3/21/2016 4:58 PM

It's hard to imagine an employee more insubordinate than Scottie Pippen was during his last five years with the Bulls.

He refused to enter a playoff game with ticks on the clock because the play wasn't designed for him.

 

He routinely blasted the general manager, teaming with Michael Jordan to torture Jerry Krause publicly, and was even crueler in the privacy of the team bus and plane.

After signing a contract Jerry Reinsdorf begged him not sign as a young player -- the owner knowing it would be obsolete in short order -- Pippen then spent years calling Reinsdorf cheap and berating him publicly for not giving him a new contract.

Never mind that the CBA prevented renegotiation, and an extension would have meant a 20 percent raise and thus a disaster as well, considering Pippen's future market value.

The facts didn't stop Pippen from attacking the owner.

Still, when the title run was over, the Bulls engineered a sign-and-trade to Houston, a deal the Bulls were under no obligation to make. It was a gift to Pippen, a thank you for his contribution to six championships.

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When Krause made the deal, the most Pippen could have received from Houston was $45 million over four years, but in the sign-and-trade Pippen could max out at $82 million over five years.

That's an extra $37 million, which is a decent severance package for an employee who humiliated the owner and GM nearly every chance he could find.

A few years ago when Pippen wanted a job, the Bulls hired Pippen as a senior adviser to team president Michael Reinsdorf.

This is the essence of Jerry Reinsdorf. He is an adult even when all about him are acting like children. He's been around long enough to expect players -- and sometimes managers and coaches -- to act like clowns, and yet he doesn't hold it against them.

Being a parent, not to mention grandparent, has prepared Reinsdorf well for his role as an owner, and so there's no reason to think he's going to punish Chris Sale for his absurd behavior last week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He's not going to trade Sale just because he acted like a fool, and when it's time to offer Sale a contract extension in a year or two -- his deal is up after the 2019 season -- Reinsdorf will do what's best for the team and not allow the memories of what's occurred of late to affect his decision-making.

Reinsdorf is quick to forgive, even if he doesn't necessarily forget.

As for what Sale will do four seasons from now, that's a different story. Up until last week, Sale seemed like a relatively thoughtful person capable of reasonable discussion.

Assuming he stays healthy, he'll be in for a very, very big payday, and he might be dreaming of greener pastures after the conflagration he helped ignite over the Adam LaRoche departure.

What LaRoche, Sale and Adam Eaton will probably never realize is there's not a more loyal or generous owner in sports than Reinsdorf. There are certainly some who equal, but none more so than Reinsdorf.

Many would properly argue that Reinsdorf is loyal and generous to a fault, but as bad habits go, there are worse curses for a human to employ.

Ask all the general managers who have needed Reinsdorf to buy out bad contracts for the betterment of the team.

While frequently called cheap by those who ignore the details, Reinsdorf has sent away and handed bags of cash to the likes of Carlos Boozer, Eddie Robinson, Tim Thomas, Rip Hamilton, Jeff Keppinger and Scott Downs, to name just a few.

Ask Randy Brown, who was forced to sell his championship rings in an auction several years ago. He was hired as an assistant GM for the Bulls and is now an assistant coach.

Ask Jay Williams, who broke his leg and his contract in a motorcycle accident, but rather than release him immediately, the Bulls paid him in full the next season and then a year later handed him a check for $3 million on his way out the door.

And, yes, ask Scottie Pippen.

Reinsdorf takes care of his people, often for life.

Have money problems, family problems, drug problems or housing problems? Reinsdorf takes care of it.

No, he's not going to punish Eaton or Sale for their nonsensical behavior. No, he's not going to hurt the White Sox to make a point. No, they won't be traded unless it's for baseball reasons down the road.

Because, after all, someone has to be an adult.

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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