Buddy Bell

Why the White Sox believe Chris Getz is the right man for a critical role in the team's rebuild

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AP

Why the White Sox believe Chris Getz is the right man for a critical role in the team's rebuild

Buddy Bell’s recent departure without being replaced shows just how much confidence the White Sox have in Chris Getz.

One of two assistant general managers, Bell left the White Sox after 14 seasons last week to join the Cincinnati Reds as a vice president/senior advisor.

Bell, who grew up in Cincinnati and played three seasons for the Reds, said he felt comfortable leaving in part because the White Sox are in good hands with Getz, who is entering his second season as the team’s player development director.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn agreed with Bell’s assessment of Getz, who said he gained a better understanding of the role after working alongside Bell. As the White Sox see it, Getz is the right person to run a department that will play a critical role in their future.

“Chris is a great fit,” Hahn said. “Not only is he an excellent baseball man, but he is a very fine communicator.

“Similarly, as a recently retired player, his level of empathy and understanding of what our players are going through as they develop is an asset. The fact that he’s very open to new ideas also helps ensure that we are looking down all possible avenues to help maximize player performance.”

Getz worked in player development, amateur scouting and major league operations for two seasons in the Kansas City Royals’ front office before joining the White Sox in October 2016. The introduction he received in KC had Getz confident he’d learn the rhythm of day-to-day operations of his new role.

Still, Getz knew he’d have plenty to learn from Bell, a five-time All Star and six-time Gold Glove winner who’d gone on to coach and manage before moving into the front office. What impressed Getz most is how open-minded Bell is to new ideas.

“His handling of people, players is really, really impressive,” Getz said. “Anyone who has true leadership qualities, you try to grab those and make it part of your style. Some of that happens through effort, and some of it happens through osmosis.

“He’s a really disciplined guy, passionate guy. He just cared so much and all those things, I hope I’ll never kind of let that leave me.

“What I’ve learned from that is surround yourself with as many people with different ways of thinking and different abilities, it just makes us all better.”

Though he said it felt “weird” to leave the White Sox, Bell told Reds reporters that the gains made by Getz let him know it was the right time.

“He’s a phenomenal piece,” Bell said. “He’s very smart, and he’s got a great feel for players and staff. I felt like this is a good time for me to maybe possibly go someplace else.”

Hahn is impressed by Getz’s communication, whether with managers, minor league coordinators or the heads of other departments. Getz said his daily routine during the season includes speaking to each of his minor league managers as well as other trusted evaluators. Between learning day-to-day operations and getting familiar with all 200 players in the system, Getz feels confident in his ability to oversee one of the top farm systems in baseball.

“There’s a lot of moving parts,” Getz said. “Just needs that kind of come up every day and you only have 25 slots and you’ve got to make this work. There’s a lot that goes into it. It demands a lot of focus throughout the season. It can be a grind, but once again you kind of figure out a rhythm to it and the people you can lean on and things like that.

“Each day presents something new, but you’ve got to wake up and be excited to take it on, too. There’s going to be challenges, but you’ve got to be looking forward to fixing things some times. And when the day is over — ‘I felt like I attacked that well and accomplished what I wanted.’ The more I take that approach, when you look back, I think it was a good season and we made a lot of progress here.”

VP, assistant GM Buddy Bell leaving White Sox after 14 seasons

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AP

VP, assistant GM Buddy Bell leaving White Sox after 14 seasons

Vice president and assistant to the general manager Buddy Bell is leaving the White Sox after 14 seasons. Bell, 66, will return to Cincinnati as a senior advisor to GM and president of baseball operations Dick Williams.

Bell spent the last five seasons in his current role with the White Sox, and was the director of player development for three seasons before that.

“Buddy Bell has influenced the careers of literally thousands of professional baseball players through his passion for coaching and player development. He has left a long-lasting mark on the White Sox organization, our minor league staff and players throughout our system. There is absolutely no way to thank him enough for all he has done and his years of devotion to this organization and to making our minor leaguers better as players and as people," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "We personally wish him nothing but success and fulfillment as he returns home to the city of Cincinnati and a Reds organization that very appropriately carries a great deal of meaning and pride for the entire Bell family.”

Bell was a five-time All-Star, won six Gold Gloves and played four of his 18 MLB seasons with the Reds.

The White Sox announced they have no plans to fill the vacancy at this time.

What Michael Kopech has done to impress the White Sox front office

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USA TODAY

What Michael Kopech has done to impress the White Sox front office

MINNEAPOLIS -- If Buddy Bell could only see one more game in his life in his life, he’d pick to watch a Michael Kopech start.

The White Sox assistant general manager said Tuesday he loves watching the way the franchise’s top pitching prospect finishes innings. Kopech, who is scheduled to make his final start of the season on Friday at Triple-A Charlotte, was mentioned earlier Tuesday in a 670-AM interview with amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler as a candidate for the 2018 White Sox starting rotation. Kopech is the No. 12 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

“I was telling Ricky today if I had a chance to see one more game in my life, it would be with him on the mound,” Bell said. “I love watching young kids, it’s my job. But just his presence, the kind of teammate he is and the way he finishes innings is exceptional. But the thing I like most about him is he’s much more mature than his age. He’s way ahead of the curve. Has obviously had a great upbringing, has got some confidence. But the way he finishes innings is something that’s --- he’s got much better as the year has gone on, too.”

Kopech had been scheduled to start Thursday’s game for Triple-A Charlotte. But the White Sox have opted to give the right-hander, who has pitched a career-high 129 1/3 innings, an extra day before his final turn of the season. Kopech is 9-7 with a 2.85 ERA and 165 strikeouts this season.

“A lot of pitchers get impatient with two outs,” Bell said. “So they’re (messing) around out there, they won’t throw strikes, they won’t stay aggressive. He just keeps going right after them. He’s actually better in that situation. All the good pitchers are like that but most pitchers seem to have trouble when they get to two outs because they don’t have the patience to get through an inning. He’s really a fun kid to watch.”

Bell noted how much more entertaining his job has been this season with a minor league system stuffed full of high-end talent. He confirmed that prospect Eloy Jimenez is set to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Bell also noted that the White Sox originally planned for Charlie Tilson to play in the Arizona Fall League but he has been replaced by Double-A outfielder Tito Polo. Tilson is currently rehabbing in Chicago.

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Bell said he’s intrigued to see how catcher Seby Zavala fares in the AFL. Since he was promoted, Zavala is hitting .309/.388/.511 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 49 games at Single-A Winston-Salem.

“He’s having a really, really good year,” Bell said. “Our catching went from kind of scarce to not too bad. (Zack) Collins has had a really good year overall and Zavala has kind of stayed right there with him.”