The White Sox have a small problem and players are getting benched because of it.
This White Sox problem comes in the form of hustle, especially when it involves running hard on the bases.
The common punishment
This is a common punishment for players who fail to hustle. Bryce Harper was benched in 2014 for failing to run out a ground ball to the pitcher. Odubel Herrera was benched for the same thing in 2016.
This lack of hustle usually involves the same type of play: a ball that is clearly an easy out. Professional baseball players know their competition. And, rarely, does the opponent ever make a mistake on an easy out to first.
The common response
In an article by Teddy Greenstein with the Chicago Tribune, Castillo was quoted as saying:
"“I think that the decision that he made was the right decision.”More from White Sox NewsThe Chicago White Sox might have had a season ending lossThe Chicago White Sox are expecting Tim Anderson back soonMiguel Cairo’s words spark life into the Chicago White SoxDylan Cease should be the favorite for the AL Cy Young AwardOzzie Guillen speaks the whole truth about Tony La Russa"
This is the cliche answer that every player says after being benched for not running hard to first. Of course, it is good baseball to run hard every single time. But, when the player knows that he will be out, is a benching really necessary?
The big question
Castillo popped up to first base. Is benching really the solution? Did it matter there if Castillo hustled down to first or not? If Chris Davis can’t catch a pop-up, he has no business playing baseball professionally. Unfortunately, because first base was not occupied, Castillo would not be called out on the infield fly rule.
The White Sox are in last place in the American League with the worst record in the MLB. And, last night, they lost to the third-worst team in the AL. Yes, the Sox are in a rebuild, but it has to be frustrating for the team to lose night after night after night. And, last night, Castillo faced his former team for the first time this season. It is easy to see why he took it slowly in the 6th inning. Rather than benching him, let him take out his frustration in his next at-bat.
It seems like it would be more helpful to let these guys play and respect what they are doing out there. Benching a player for something ridiculous like this is just embarrassing and the White Sox have been embarrassed enough already in 2018.