Royals’ Roster Decisions: Chris Getz


Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

In the next couple of months, the Royals’ roster is going to be undergoing some changes. Dayton Moore will be adding and subtracting players via free agency, trades, waivers, and the like. Over the coming weeks, I’ll periodically be looking at what players currently on the 40 man roster with which the front office may choose to cut ties in order to make room for players who could help the Royals in 2014. At the end of each player review, I’ll tell you if I think the Royals should cut the player (trade, DFA, non-tender, etc.) or keep him.

Shortly after the 2009 World Series, Dayton Moore traded Mark Teahen to the White Sox in exchange for Josh Fields and Chris Getz. Teahen brought negative value to his new team, and Fields couldn’t stay healthy with the Royals. But Getz has seemingly found a way to stick around Kansas City for 4 seasons now. How has he done it?

Quite frankly, I have no idea.

That’s not entirely true, of course. I don’t know the exact reason behind it, but obviously Getz is a player Moore likes to have on the roster. Moore has held onto Getz like a child holds onto the balloon he got at a carnival. Even after the helium begins to leave the balloon, and the child is left dragging around a deflated, depressing looking piece of rubber by a dirty, tattered ribbon, the child will still smile and hold that balloon up proudly as if to say, “See what I got?”

In his time with the Royals, Getz has accumulated 1124 plate appearances with a line of .248/.305/.295. His wRC+ is 65. He’s hit 1 home run. Even if you include his time with the White Sox, Getz’s wRC+ only goes up to 67 in 1546 career plate appearances. Getz is also 30 years old, meaning he is past the age when a player typically peaks.

At this point in his career, we know what Chris Getz is. Chris Getz is a bad hitter.

I will admit that Getz is an above average baserunner. He has 61 steals since 2010, but he’s also been caught 15 times, which is good for a success rate of 80.3%. Fangraphs has him at 6.1 baserunning runs above average since 2010, which is respectable yet unspectacular. But that asset doesn’t contribute much to the team overall. The Royals would like you to believe Getz is an elite defensive second baseman and that his glove is good enough to overcome his offensive ineptness.

Reality tells a different story, however. Since 2010, Getz has a DRS rating of -1. This means that he is rated at one run below the major league average. There are 26 second basemen with at least 2000 innings at the position since 2010. Thirteen of those players have a better UZR than Getz has in that timeframe. If you go by UZR/150, Getz ranks 13th out of 26. In other words, most metrics rate Getz as an average defensive second baseman, at best. Even after adjusting for his position, Getz has only been worth 0.8 defensive WAR since 2010.

He does have fairly quick and sure hands, but his below average arm and roughly average range prevent Getz from being used anywhere other than second base. Becoming a utility player simply isn’t an option. In addition to his poor statistics, Getz has shown a propensity for getting injured, evidenced by playing in just 332 games in the last 4 seasons.

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

So again, why has Moore continued to promote this idea of Getz as a major league-caliber second baseman? Some may argue the Royals had very few alternatives to turn to during the Getz era. However, Mike Aviles was traded away in 2011. Aviles was nearly average offensively, and while he was poor defensively and struggled with injury issues, he did provide more value in 163 games between 2010 and 2011 (1.2 fWAR) than Getz has in the last 4 years combined (0.6 fWAR). Then, of course, there is Johnny Giavotella. Gio has seen sporadic playing time in each of the last 3 seasons, and he has failed to meet the expectations so many fans – myself included – had for him. That being said, Giavotella has been a more productive hitter than Getz in 2 of the last 3 seasons. For what it’s worth, Steamer projections have Gio looking at a .276/.336/.387 line for 2014. I will grant that Giavotella’s defense isn’t exactly stellar, although I do feel that his shortcomings in the field – much like Getz’s proficiency – have been overstated. Given enough of a sample size, I still feel that Gio would be able to provide positive value for a team and…

…And now I’ve gone down a road I didn’t intend to go. I said months ago I didn’t want to partake in any more Getz vs. Gio arguments, and I still mean that. I understand that the Royals don’t believe in Giavotella, and that they will likely move on from him this winter. I’ve been a huge fan of Giavotella for several years now, and I would love to see him find success somewhere. But, this article isn’t supposed to be about what I think Gio might do. It’s about what Getz has proven he cannot do. And what he cannot do is be a legitimate major league second baseman for a team allegedly trying to make the playoffs.

Final decision on Getz: Cut him. Getz is scheduled to make approximately $1.3 million in 2014 if the Royals tender him a contract. Again, for an organization who appears to be making a big push for contention, that would be a big mistake. The Royals currently have Emilio Bonifacio at second, with Christian Colon potentially on the way. They’re also rumored to be looking outside the organization for second base help this offseason, meaning there just isn’t room on the roster for Getz.