At first blush, the White Sox naming Chris Getz to be the new Director of Player Development read as the type of thoroughly outside the box hire of an inexperienced former player of theirs, for which they have become notorious. While making such a hire did not preclude the Sox from success, it would not show the kind of change in approach, and rebuking of their typical ways on a larger scale, that everyone thinks they need to break out of their rut.
This is still accurate, but asking around and reading up on Getz’s history with the Royals has at least added some nuance to the hire, if not lending it a whole new angle. The Sox definitely went young and less experienced, will undoubtedly avoid paying a large salary by doing so, and are leaning more toward a calculated risk than anything resembling a sure thing. But the move seems more driven by a different motivation than their love of bringing back old favorites, rather it’s their tendency to look at successful division rivals as a model.
The Royals made the move to bring Getz into the fold as soon as he was available after his retirement from playing in 2014, and specifically placed him to work in player development. His actual title with the Royals is hard to pin down, but the focus is unmistakable. The role offered ample opportunity for Getz to work alongside the Royals’ scouts and learn their approach, but also the chance to do some actual player instruction in their farm system.
Royals GM Dayton Moore is just as well known for taking care of his people as anyone in the game, and rather than have Getz languish in a token position, he was brought along aggressively. The Detroit News even reported him as weighing in on trades for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist within his first year with the organization, in addition to having his fingerprints on some of the rookies who debuted in 2015.
This is not to argue that Getz is actually an amazing hire (because that’s still a total unknown) or that former experience with the Sox organization did not help him land this job (because c’mon), but this is a move that is far more about trying to steal the mojo of the 2013-present Royals than insularity.
While that notion might conjure the image of Rick Hahn cold-calling Royals staffers and asking what’s the secret behind “Kansas City Specials,” trying to poach from an organization that has thrived from building high defensive competency and contact skills from its position players sounds a lot more like what they should be doing to overhaul this franchise.
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