Yankees’ reliever takes a jab at the former club, starts pre-game banter

Relief pitcher Keynan Middleton of the New York Yankees

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NEW YORK— The Yankees’ latest bullpen acquisition flayed the non-serious culture and no rules at his former club. According to Keynan Middleton, there aren’t any regulations governing the team culture at the Chicago White Sox.

Middleton, who joined the Yankees on the eve of the trade deadline, ponders how it’s possible to manage the team’s culture when there aren’t any rules or guidelines to follow. Keynan Middleton claims as everyone was doing things their own way, it was difficult to address anything about it at the Chicago White Sox since there were no established rules.

“You have rookies sleeping in the bullpen during the game,” former Chicago White Sox pitcher and Yankees reliever Keynan Middleton said. “You have guys missing meetings. You have guys missing PFPs (pitcher fielding practices), and there are no consequences for any of this stuff.”

Yankees’ Keynan Middleton happy to leave Chicago

The Chicago White Sox, who were having a hard time and dropped out of the competition, recently traded some experienced players. They were dealing with a situation where there seemed to be a lack of rules in the team culture. According to Yankees relief pitcher Keynan Middleton, he had seen a rookie who frequently fell asleep in the bullpen while others missed practice sessions at his former club, the Chicago White Sox.

Keynan Middleton signed a Yankees contract to play in the minor leagues and was one of their more skilled relief pitchers before the trade. Although they were aiming to do well this season, the White Sox haven’t been very successful, with a record of 45 wins and 68 losses. This happened under the guidance of their first-year manager, Pedro Grifol, who was chosen after Tony La Russa left.

The Yankees player mentioned that there weren’t any rules at the Chicago White Sox when he joined the team. He questioned how it’s possible to manage the team’s culture when there aren’t any rules or guidelines to follow. Keynan Middleton explained that because everyone was doing things their own way, it was difficult to address anything about it since there were no established rules.

New York Yankees new player, Keynan Middleton

Keynan Middleton talked about rookies sleeping in the bullpen during games. He mentioned that some players were skipping meetings and not attending pitcher fielding practices. The Yankees reliever also pointed out that the Chicago White Sox were not eager to seek accountability for these actions.

According to Keynan Middleton, the issues within the White Sox team were present even before he joined them this season, and before Grifol became the manager. Last year, the team had a record of 81 wins and 81 losses under the leadership of Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. However, La Russa had to step down from his position due to health issues.

Keynan Middleton mentioned that when he arrived at spring training, became aware that similar issues were occurring the previous year. He observed that these same problems were happening again this year, and he wasn’t sure how he could make a difference. He pointed out that there aren’t explicit instructions given about not missing pitcher fielding practices (PFPs) or meetings. And if someone does miss them, there doesn’t seem to be significant consequences – it’s treated as if it’s not a big deal.

In April, the White Sox had a hard time due to injuries and a challenging schedule. They went through a period of losing for ten consecutive games in that month. During this time, the team had a meeting in Toronto. According to sources who were present, only the pitchers in the room voiced their opinions during the meeting.

Middleton pointed to the players, like Lynn and Graveman, leaving for the World Baseball Classic during Grifol’s initial spring training as a reason for the team’s cultural struggles.

He stated that when attempting to establish a culture, it’s essential to have influential players. He noted that those who participated in the World Baseball Classic were key players, and he believed they were capable of maintaining discipline within the team.

Keynan Middleton noted that the team didn’t really come together as a unit. The usual practice is to figure out the team’s character during spring training, which helps set the tone for the season. If that identity isn’t established, it leads to struggles right from the beginning.

When asked about the weaknesses in the White Sox team, Keynan Middleton indicated that there was a lack of overall leadership. He suggested that problems tend to spread if not dealt with properly. Middleton also mentioned that some individuals may have hesitated to voice their opinions when it was required. He noted that it becomes challenging to regulate the behavior of others when there aren’t established rules to follow. In cases where certain players engage in actions that might be questionable, it’s unclear whose judgment those actions go against—whether it’s yours or theirs. This creates a situation where judgment becomes subjective.

Keynan Middleton hails Yankees’s club culture

Several people who supported what Keynan Middleton said talked to ESPN. They said they saw a pitcher taking a nap during games and not participating in fielding practice. But when asked about Middleton’s comments on Sunday night, the White Sox team didn’t respond.

Last Tuesday, Keynan Middleton’s trade to the Yankees was finalized. In exchange for him, the White Sox acquired a pitcher named Juan Carela. This trade was part of a series of five deals that involved other experienced players such as Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, Reynaldo Lopez, and third baseman Jake Burger. After pitching for his new team on Sunday, Middleton talked about how much he appreciated the values and atmosphere within the Yankees organization.

Keynan Middleton mentioned that as soon as he learned about the Yankees trade, he decided to shave his face. He explained that he was eager to follow the team’s guidelines because his main goal is to help the team win games. According to the pitcher, there’s a clear understanding of how to behave within the Yankees organization. People are aware of the importance of being punctual and they know there are repercussions if they don’t follow these rules.

On Monday, Keynan Middleton will return to Chicago for the Yankees’ three-game series against his former team. He expressed his contentment with being in a new setting.

Keynan Middleton remarked that he had heard about certain things before joining the Yankees. He also talked about the decision to shave off his beard. He explained that although he didn’t want to do it, he felt it was necessary to become a part of the Yankees team and he had no doubts about this decision.

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