On Wednesday night, while the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals played on ESPN, there was a conversation about whether or not the Cubs might consider sending one of their relievers to the South Side before the trade deadline. The AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox need bullpen help, and the Cubs have pitchers on the market.
The ESPN broadcasters praised the way White Sox manager Tony La Russa has handled the bullpen—the team's only real area of deficiency—this season. Shortly thereafter, La Russa began trending for another reason: First baseman Yermin Mercedes, the same player he admonished for not knowing baseball's arcane unwritten rules, announced his sudden retirement on Instagram.
While it seems as though Mercedes decided not to retire after all, the entire incident reignited the controversy surrounding what happened between the two of them back in May. It's impossible to draw a straight line between the two without hearing Mercedes' rationale for why he said "it's over" in a since-deleted Instagram post.
It's unfair to speculate that La Russa's handling of the situation led directly to Mercedes' decision to write that post, but that won't stop anyone.
The timeline of events shows that two things can be true about the entire ordeal: La Russa is a knowledgable baseball manager who knows how to manage the X's and O's of the game, and Mercedes is a 28-year-old rookie struggling to achieve his dream of being an everyday big leaguer.