Oh come on, you knew this was coming. Engel already wrote about it, but I’m going to get in on this too.
News broke earlier today that the Kansas City Royals had reached an agreement with second baseman Chris Getz on a contract that would have him return to the team for the 2013 season. To sum that sentence up another way: more blog post fodder!
Over the past couple of years Getz, along with Jeff Francoeur, has been the player fans and writers following the team have pointed the majority of their frustrations. Most of the pointing done, and words written, fall under the category of extreme hyperbole, but for the most part the angst isn’t all that misplaced when you consider the hype surrounding the player that has done little on the field to justify it.
That was, I suppose, until last season. The new and improved batting stance unlocked the “power” that had been hidden in his swing for three full seasons (he still hasn’t hit a homerun since 2009), helping Getz push his slugging percentage to a career high .360.* The improvement from Getz was so profound (that’s how bad he was in 2011 and 2010 with a bat in his hands) that fans actually began to use the phrases “not that bad” and “he’s the least of the Royals worries” when trying to justify the playing time of a batter with 13 extra-base hits all season and average-at-best defense. Getz may not have been the least of the team’s worries, but his playing time is a symptom of what has ailed the franchise for six years now.
Not that it’s all Getz’s fault he’s been forced into duty he’s probably ill-suited for; he’s not a starting second baseman in the major leagues. It’s near impossible to argue that at this point. Johnny Giavotella was penciled in as the starting second baseman, but a poor spring and the acquisition of Yuniesky Betancourt created an opening to use the Getz Grittiness every day. These things happen when self-imposed low budget teams (heh) don’t have their first laid plans workout the way they had planned. A lack of depth hurt them, and hurt them in a bad way, at the pivot position last season.
And this season, there’s a worry it could happen again.
The contract given to Getz isn’t all that scary for a player of his, um, talents, provided his playing time is handled accordingly. But the same main competitor for the position he had last season is the same he has this season, and the Royals have already shown a clear distaste (and odd bias) for Giavotella’s defense, making it appear far too many plate appearances will be given to a player whose only offensive skill seems to be to be able to put the ball in play, weakly.
Getz’s value as a backup is near non-existent because the only position he can really play is second base, and a backup infielder that’s stuck to play one position that isn’t shortstop provides very little value.
So it’s Getz vs. Giavotella II. Or something. May the best man win.
No matter how it’s sliced, this is good news for those that search to find Royals subjects to write about on a weekly basis. Because no matter which side of the fence you’re on, you can always come up with a good 600 words Chris Getz, and the subplots that surround him.
(I sincerely apologize for the title of this post.)