CHICAGO — Citing the desire to get better quickly, Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf made the decision to promote Chris Getz to general manager instead of going outside the organization.
“The conclusion I came to, is we owe our fans and ourselves not to waste any time,” Reinsdorf said Thursday afternoon. “We want to get better as fast as we possibly can. If I went outside, it would have taken anybody at least a year to evaluate the organization.
“I could have brought Branch Rickey back. It would have taken him a year to evaluate the organization.”
Getz, 40, takes over baseball operations from longtime White Sox executives Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn, who were both fired in mid-August. Getz was previously the team’s director of player development.
“The major league team’s a byproduct of the depths of the organization,” Getz said. “I’m going to pursue excellence in all of those areas and, hopefully, that helps clean up our team. We’ve had a lot of injuries. We’ve had players that have underperformed, and I look forward to sitting down with Pedro (Grifol) and learn more about the coaching staff and certainly their styles and gain that feedback from the players.”
Getz announced Grifol would return for the 2024 season despite the team’s lackluster record. The White Sox are 53-81 ahead of a weekend series against the Detroit Tigers. An early 10-game losing streak sunk their chances in the AL Central this year but a poor clubhouse culture contributed to their issues.
“It’s the worst year I’ve ever suffered through,” Reinsdorf said. “It was a horrible experience. I feel awful. I know how our fans feel. We’re going to put this behind us and go forward and get better. But this has really been a nightmare.”
Despite Getz’ involvement in the organization and its underachievement, Reinsdorf was impressed with how he worked with the team’s minor league players.
“For the first time in all the years that I’ve been associated with the White Sox, I had a farm director that was doing what I wanted,” Reinsdorf stated. “Somebody who was teaching baseball. We want to develop players who know how to play the game. What I observed, and told many, many people over the years, was Chris was doing a great job.”
Getz is hoping the farm system — along with additions from outside the organization — can turn things around quickly. The farm system is currently rated 13th in MLB by ESPN analyst Kiley McDaniel, and it includes shortstop Colson Montgomery, the No. 2 overall prospect in the minors.
“Every year, it seems that the division is up for grabs,” Getz said. “With that being said, we sit at 53 wins right now. So there is a gap to fill and we’re going to look at different ways to improve this.”
Getz was taken by the White Sox in the fourth round of the 2005 draft and made his MLB debut in 2008 before being traded to the Kansas City Royals in 2009. He played in parts of seven seasons, finishing his playing career with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014.
Reinsdorf said he had a list of candidates but there weren’t any other known interviews.
“Chris was on that list,” Reinsdorf said. “There was quite a number of other people on that list.”
Besides filling out his front office, Getz will have several big decisions to make come this offseason.
Closer Liam Hendriks and shortstop Tim Anderson have team options for next year — though the former player isn’t likely to come back as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. The pitching staff will also need to be rebuilt after starters Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn were moved at the trade deadline and righty Mike Clevinger’s mutual option for 2024 isn’t likely to be picked up by both sides.
“It’s going to be important to bring in different perspectives, different ideas, which comes with different people to add to the group that we have here and make us better decision makers so we can go out there and put together a better ballclub moving forward,” Getz said. “Our commitment is to our fans and we realize they’re not happy. So I’m going to do deep dive into the organization, rely on the group we have here and bring in different ideas and thinking to boost the intellectual firepower that we have.”
Getz was asked what might be different with him in charge considering he worked closely with the previous regime.
“Every individual operates differently,” Getz said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for those two [Williams and Hahn]. Now that we’re going to have a single decision-making operation, I think with the added influence of outsiders along with the group we have here, our processes will be a little bit different and we’re going to see that on the field.”