Maybe the Sox shouldn't be concerned with who gets saves


Maybe the Sox shouldn't be concerned with who gets saves

On a team full of question marks, the largest one has, in recent weeks, involved who closes games for the White Sox. In other words: Who's going to rack up saves?

Maybe that's not the question we should be asking.

Jonah Keri wrote an excellent piece for Grantland about abolishing the save statistic, which has shaped bullpen management for over a half-century. The idea of a "closer by committee" has been lambasted, while pitchers who rack up gaudy save totals make tens of millions of dollars.

But a "save" is just a created statistic. Usually, a team's closer is its best reliever. But all the save means is that pitcher was on the mound when his team won -- provided his team had a lead of three or fewer runs.

Not all saves are created equal. Yet a three-run save counts just as much as a one that requires a pitcher to retire the heart of the order with the bases loaded. But thanks to the save statistic, teams won't use their best pitcher if that bases loaded scenario comes up in the eighth inning.

Keri espoused Fangraphs' "shutdowns" and "meltdowns" statistics, which track if a pitcher increased or decreased his team's chances of winning. Essentially, it puts all relievers on equal ground for evaluation.

So here's where the White Sox come into play. Four relievers are apparently vying for saves -- Addison Reed, Hector Santiago, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton -- but nobody has separated himself from the pack. Thornton is the best and most experienced of the bunch, Reed has the most upside, Crain is a solid veteran and Santiago is an up-and-comer.

With no defined closer, the Sox have a chance to look less at saves and more at matchups. If the Sox need big outs in the eighth inning, they can turn to Thornton. The same goes for Reed in the seventh, eighth, or ninth innings. If both pitchers have already been used, Santiago or Crain could slide into the ninth.

So looking at the Sox bullpen as having a "closer by committee" wouldn't be the right approach. Not putting someone in a rigid closer role allows the Sox have have the flexibility to pick and choose when to use relievers based on the situation.

It appears Ventura's going that route -- at least publicly -- making it the first real stamp he's put on his new team. And he deserves praise for it.

White Sox: Chris Getz's new player development role is to carry out 'vision of the scouts'

White Sox: Chris Getz's new player development role is to carry out 'vision of the scouts'

He may be limited on experience, but Chris Getz already has a strong idea about player development.

Getz -- who on Friday was named the White Sox director of player development -- worked the past two seasons as an assistant to baseball operations in player development for the Kansas City Royals. A fourth-round pick of the White Sox in the 2005 amateur draft, Getz replaces Nick Capra, who earlier this month was named the team’s third-base coach. A quick learner whom a baseball source said the Royals hoped to retain, Getz described his new position as being “very task oriented.”

“(The job) is carrying out the vision of the scouts,” Getz said. “The players identified by the scouts and then they are brought in and it’s a commitment by both the player and staff members to create an environment for that player to reach their ceiling.

“It’s a daily process.”

Getz, a University of Michigan product, played for the White Sox in 2008 and 2009 before he was traded to the Royals in a package for Mark Teahen in 2010. Previously drafted by the White Sox in 2002, he described the organization as “something that always will be in my DNA.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Getz stayed in Kansas City through 2013 and began to consider a front-office career as his playing career wound down. His final season in the majors was with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore hired Getz as an assistant to baseball operations in January 2015 and he quickly developed a reputation as both highly intelligent and likeable, according to a club source.

“He is extremely well-regarded throughout the game, and we believe he is going to have a positive impact on the quality of play from rookie ball through Chicago,” GM Rick Hahn said.

Getz had as many as four assistant GMs ahead of him with the Royals, who couldn’t offer the same kind of position as the White Sox did. Getz spent the past week meeting with other members of the White Sox player development staff and soon will head to the team’s Dominican Republic academy. After that he’ll head to the Arizona Fall League as he becomes familiar with the department. Though he’s still relatively new, Getz knows what’s expected of his position.

“It’s focused on what’s in front of you,” Getz said. “Player development people are trying to get the player better every single day.”

“With that being said, the staff members need to be creative in their thinking. They need to be innovative at times. They need to know when to press the gas or pump the brakes. They need to be versatile in all these different areas.”

White Sox name Chris Getz Director of Player Development

White Sox name Chris Getz Director of Player Development

The White Sox announced on Friday they have named former MLB infielder Chris Getz as Director of Player Development.

Getz replaces Nick Capra, who after five seasons in his position was named the White Sox third base coach on Oct. 14.

The 33-year-old Getz has spent the last two years with the Kansas City Royals as a baseball operations assistant/player development in which he assisted in minor-league operations and player personnel decisions.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

“I'm excited about the opportunity to help teach and develop young talent in the organization where my professional career began,” Getz said in a press release. “I was drafted twice, worked through the minor leagues, and reached the major leagues with the White Sox. Through this journey, I was able to gain an understanding of the individuals within this organization, who I respect greatly.  The director of player development is an important role, and the health of the minor-league system is vital for major-league success.  I look forward to putting my all into making the White Sox a strong and winning organization.”
White Sox Senior VP/general manager Rick Hahn added: “We are pleased to add Chris’ intellect, background and energy to our front office. He is extremely well-regarded throughout the game, and we believe he is going to have a positive impact on the quality of play from rookie ball through Chicago.”

Getz, originally a fourth-round selection by the White Sox in the 2005 MLB Draft out of Michigan, played in seven MLB seasons with the White Sox (2008-09), Royals (2010-13) and Blue Jays (2014).

Getz had a career slash line of .250/.309/.307 with three home runs, 111 RBI and 89 stolen bases.