The White Sox’s crumbling fall from contention is making a little more sense now.
New Yankee Keynan Middleton, whom the team acquired from the White Sox on Aug. 1 in exchange for prospect Juan Carela, ripped his former team’s “no rules” culture that unraveled a once-competitive club.
“We came in with no rules,” Middleton told ESPN.
Middleton returns to Chicago on Monday, less than a week after the trade, as the Yankees open a three-game series against the White Sox after splitting four games with Houston.
“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,” he said. “Like, how do you say anything about it because there are no rules?”
Middleton joined the White Sox this offseason on a minor league deal and was one of the squad’s more dependable relievers while it sunk to its current 45-68 record.
“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,” Middleton told ESPN.
The White Sox are led by first-year manager Pedro Grifol but had the same problems while former manager Tony La Russa was at the helm, according to Middleton.
Middleton, who pitched to a 3.96 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 36 ¹/₃ innings with Chicago, is excited about his fresh start with the Yankees and the structure it will provide.
“The second I found out I was traded, I shaved my face,” Middleton told ESPN.
“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.”
The 29-year-old pitched two scoreless innings in Sunday’s 9-7 loss to the Astros and has yet to allow a hit spanning three innings with the Yankees.