Home » Articles » Former White Sox reliever Keynan Middleton criticizes team’s “no rules” culture

Former White Sox reliever Keynan Middleton criticizes team’s “no rules” culture

by Jordan Lazowski

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the White Sox, a glimpse into their clubhouse has made things look even worse than they appear.

This evening, Jesse Rogers of ESPN published a scathing report of the current conditions with the White Sox, all of which comes directly from former reliever Keynan Middleton who, among other things, was highly critical of the team’s “no rules” culture. The report details everything from a lack of accountability in practice all the way down to players sleeping in the bullpen during games.

Middleton starts by reviewing some of the on-field shortcomings for the White Sox:

“We came in with no rules. I don’t know how you police the culture if there are no rules or guidelines to follow because everyone is doing their own thing. Like, how do you say anything about it because there are no rules? You have rookies sleeping in the bullpen during the game. You have guys missing meetings. You have guys missing PFPs [pitcher fielding practices] and there are no consequences for any of this stuff.”

Keynan Middleton (via ESPN)

Multiple sources confirmed what Middleton told ESPN – including the fact that they saw a pitcher napping during a game.

If your first instinct when reading this is to blame Pedro Grifol: not so fast. According to the report, these issues pre-date Grifol’s time with the White Sox – he just hasn’t been able to stop it.

“When I got to Spring Training, I heard a lot of the same stuff was happening last year. It’s happening again this year so not sure how I could change it. They don’t tell you not to miss PFPs. They don’t tell you not to miss meetings and if it happens, it’s just, ‘OK.'”

Keynan Middleton (via ESPN)

So, if not solely Grifol’s fault, who/what else did Middleton blame for the lack of culture? For starters, the World Baseball Classic and those who participated in it – including Lance Lynn and Kendall Graveman:

“If you’re trying to create culture, you need your big dogs. The guys who played in the WBC were our big dogs and those are the guys I feel like can police the things that are happening. There was no gelling of the team. We’re supposed to find our identity in Spring Training so we can roll out for the season. If you don’t find your identity, you’re scuffling from Day 1.”

Keynan Middleton (via ESPN)

And Middleton’s final quote? Perhaps the most damning of all:

“The second I found out I was traded, I shaved my face. I was ready to play by their rules because all I want to do is win games…You know how to act [here]. You know not to be late and you know there are consequences if you are late… Did I want to shave my beard off? Hell no. I had to. I wanted to be a part of [the Yankees]. There was no question.”

Keynan Middleton (via ESPN)

What a situation the White Sox find themselves in. The White Sox, as of now, have no comment on the report. However, it’s likely we will see that change in the coming days.

Follow us @SoxOn35th for more throughout the season

Featured Image: © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Is this at all surprising?


Everything starts at the tippy top and works it’s way down.


Just when we though this team couldn’t go any lower…. and then now this.

Everyone knows what dysfunctional mesh that is called the Chicago White Sox… this just makes it worse.

And, I do not see Ebenezer Jerry doing a single thing to change it. I fully expect the Clown Show of Hahn and Williams to continue.

Thomas Hall

I thought that a clown show was supposed to be funny! Is there anything funny about the White Sox Organization and its current mess? This is enough to make a person vomit! I quit pulling for the White Sox, and a friend called me Benedict Arnold! I replied that at this point, pulling for the White Sox constitutes an endorsement of Reinsdorf, Hahn and Williams!

Jeffrey C

I watched Eloy during his rehab in AAA – everything was a joke and zero hustle/effort. Also – Grifol does not have the stones to turn this ship. We need a task master old school manager to crack the whip. Also, paying before players before they perform is such a stupid approach to save a buck. We have all of the overpaid underperforming prospects.


This is why I have been saying we need Joe Girardi…he would motivate and hold players accountable


I like the idea of Joe G too…. but he won’t conform to the Sox ways of “doing business”. Plus he would clash with the clown-show that is Williams & Hahn.

And, at this point…. I cannot see any decent manager coming to the Southside with as long as a Reinsdorf remains in control.

Last edited 8 months ago by mjc72
Thomas Hall

Joe Girardi might not be the solution! That is not to say that he hasn’t had a good career, but don’t forget that the Phillies were struggling when he was fired, and that they turned around when Rob Thomson took over. Phillies players said that Thomson was much more approachable than Girardi! Also, even if Girardi would hold players accountable, what good is that when there is no accountability at the higher levels of the organization?

Robert Blanco

Where was this when you were on the team? Obviously you have no leadership skills and just throw those under the bus when they trade you. See ya


I play a sport (not professional, just for fun) but have done it for over a decade. And I take responsibility in welcoming new people, showing them how we do things and being there for questions. Did you ever consider, rather than laying it all on the feet of management (who definitely still need to get the lion’s share of blame here) that if someone is sleeping in the bullpen, uh, wake them up? If they’re not showing up for meetings, say something?

Sounds like a guy who gave up on his team months ago, but the second the Yankees come calling, oh I’ll magically try now.


LMAO yes let’s blame the guy who is trying to shed some light on how awful the culture is from the core of this rebuild. This was seen from fans since last year but now there is definitive proof

Thomas Hall

Management does bear the blame! If players are sleeping in the bullpen, not showing up for meetings or are late to practice, is management doing anything about it? There is talk that this kind of behavior is being tolerated! If that is true, then management is turning a blind eye to the problem! I believe that Verdugo with the Red Sox was benched by Alex Cora for being late to a team practice!

You may also like