White Sox

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.”

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

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Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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USA TODAY

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.

The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.

The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.

While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.

Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:

And this may explain why Vieira was even available:

Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return? 

This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:

Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."