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.”