Home » Articles » Opinion » Chris Getz avoids criticism despite historically bad season

Chris Getz avoids criticism despite historically bad season

by Nik Gaur

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Chicago White Sox are on pace to have one of the worst seasons in modern baseball history. This has led to many fan reactions — apathy, embarrassment, and anger being the most common. But the anger is often in three directions: Pedro Grifol, Jerry Reinsdorf, and the players. One person is noticeably missing from this list.

Indeed, White Sox General Manager Chris Getz has largely avoided criticism in spite of the team’s historically dreadful pace. It’s a fairly remarkable position for a GM: despite being at least somewhat responsible for what is shaping up to be the worst team in franchise history, Pedro Grifol and Jerry Reinsdorf act as human shields. There are a couple reasons for this. First, Getz has only been GM for about 10 months. While almost all of his offseason acquisitions (Erick Fedde being the main saving grace) have been hilariously inept, he was not the primary architect of the failed rebuild that has put the White Sox in this position.

Another reason is that most of Getz’s offseason moves were transparently made to please manager Pedro Grifol. While Getz himself is a former Kansas City Royal, targeting players such as Martin Maldonado and Nicky Lopez was a strategy employed to help Grifol feel comfortable. Regardless of whether you agree that Getz should be absolved of blame for these targets, this is another reason why he has not been blamed as much as others (or at all) for the team’s standing.

And while the White Sox are in an immensely undesirable position, there have been bright spots. For example, many players acquired in the last year, including Korey Lee, Jordan Leasure, Edgar Quero, Ky Bush, and Jake Eder have delivered strong performances in either MLB or AA. However, all of those players were acquired by former GM Rick Hahn weeks before he was fired. Getz’s four biggest trades to date have fared differently.

Evaluating Chris Getz’s trades

First, there was the trade of Aaron Bummer to Atlanta for five players, three or four of whom were to be designated for assignment by the Braves days later. Bummer has been solid this season, while the only player for the White Sox worth noting is Jared Shuster, who has been fine in a relief role but has concerning peripherals. It’s not that keeping Aaron Bummer would have done the White Sox any favors, but the package they got back for a three years of an established lefty reliever (coming off one bad, but largely flukey season) was below what the market usually pays. This was true at the time and is true now.

Next, Getz traded Gregory Santos for Prelander Berroa, Zach DeLoach, and a compensatory draft pick. This trade is not really worth evaluating because everybody involved has either been injured, bad, or not yet drafted.

Then, Getz traded Cristian Mena for Dominic Fletcher. While it is too early to evaluate this trade holistically, it is puzzling to trade a successful 21-year-old pitcher already in AAA for a 26-year-old corner outfield prospect with limited power. So far, Fletcher has been worth -0.4 fWAR for the White Sox due to a 42 wRC+ and poor defense, while Mena has held his own in AAA against older competition in an extremely hitter-friendly league. It is worth noting that the most logical explanation for trading Mena at the time was concerns with how his fastball will translate to MLB, but just weeks after the trade, Mena’s fastball velocity had increased by ~3-to-4 MPH.

Finally, Getz traded Dylan Cease to the Padres for three prospects and a reliever. While Cease has pitched well for the Padres, pitching prospects Drew Thorpe and Jairo Iriarte have been extremely impressive for AA and could form two-fifths of the team’s future starting rotation. Thorpe is debuting tomorrow and Iriarte could feasibly debut as soon as this summer. This has been Getz’s best trade so far by a landslide.

Beyond the trades, Getz’s signings so far have largely been veteran players that he believed would provide solid defense. However, the White Sox rank last in practically every major defensive statistic so far. Perhaps the most damning quote from Getz was this from March:

Getz:  “There was concern of players coming here or continuing their careers here with our current defense. So, to be able to bring in one of the most credible defenders in Martín Maldonado and Max Stassi has a tremendous reputation of building a rapport with a pitching staff. We’ve got young arms, also some veteran arms that are gonna benefit with having those two guys helping them navigate games.”

Source: CBS

Maldonado was actually coming off a horrific defensive season. While he was once a credible defender, 37-year-old catchers are usually available in free agency for a reason. The fact that Getz felt comfortable referring to Maldonado as “one of the most credible defenders” may be written off as a GM supporting a player, but it should at the very least be considered a red flag.

Since Getz inherited a mess, it is difficult to place all of the blame on him. But he certainly has not done much to help the situation, either. Aside from the Cease trade, all of his acquisitions have made little sense (even at the time). They all show a disregard for power bats and defense (ironically, considering he claims to prioritize it). A starting defense with Martin Maldonado, Andrew Benintendi, Dominic Fletcher, and Andrew Vaughn was never going to be that good, regardless of the availability of players like Luis Robert Jr. and Yoan Moncada.

The White Sox went from “we’re going to have a great clubhouse, improved defense, and players who try hard!” to “please come try our milkshakes!” in a matter of days once the season started. It was obvious to those paying attention to league-wide trends that the Getz/Grifol vision would not have a meaningful impact on wins and losses. Fair or not, the expectation communicated by ownership when Getz was hired was that this would be a quick turnaround. In fact, that was the reason Getz was hired without a real interview process.

Instead, the “turnaround” has been turning an already bad team into one of the worst teams of the modern era. As the season progresses, some changes will be made. Players will be shuttled between the minor leagues and Chicago, and more deadline trades will be made. After the season (and maybe even during), Pedro Grifol will be fired. But none of it will matter unless Chris Getz can prove that his opening moves as GM truly were driven by Grifol’s wishes. Some may give Getz the benefit of the doubt, but his quotes, apparent team building philosophy, and the lack of a true search before he was hired revoke him of that privilege. He should get just as much blame for this disaster of a season as Grifol.

Be sure to follow us on social media @SoxOn35th for more!

Featured Photo: © Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Too many blunders. Getz needs much better scouts.

Tim Moran

I think the jury is still out on Getz’s trade prowess…the Cease deal has potential to be a really nice return. We will certainly see how things go over the next two months.

Derek Turrietta

This is so accurate and remembering his comments last season about steely focus, it is clear he should be scrutinized. He bears some responsibility setting the team tone. Good catch.


grifols is incompetent. Bring back Ventura or Renteria.

You may also like