White Sox GM reflects on first six months on the job

February 23rd, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Getz celebrated his 40th birthday on Aug. 30, 2023, marking a milestone in anyone’s life. There was probably a family party, a cake and maybe even a balloon or two.

One day later, Getz reached another seminal lifetime moment upon being named the new White Sox general manager. That announcement wasn’t greeted by the same sort of universal excitement. In fact, far from it … at first.

The White Sox were muddling through one of their worst seasons in recent memory, finishing at 61-101. General manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams had been relieved of their duties, but with Getz serving as director of player development and assistant general manager in that regime, he was deemed more a part of the past problem than a true new solution.

Approximately six months later, Getz still understands that thought process as the plan being executed to sway the masses gets tested via Cactus League action Friday against the Cubs at Sloan Park.

“I’m a fan of sports,” Getz told MLB.com. “And I’ve got sports teams I’ve grown up and feel strongly connected to, and if there are struggles, the last thing you want to hear is that there’s going to be an internal hire. You get thrust into, like, you are a part of the problem: 'How could you possibly bring us to a position to be successful?'

“That’s why you go out there and you’ve got to prove your worth. That will take time and I understand that. That is fair. And hopefully, our fan base can sense us moving in the right direction.”

This direction began in September when Getz did a deep dive into the entire organization. He hired important front office personnel such as assistant general manager Josh Barfield, senior advisor to pitching Brian Bannister and director of player personnel Gene Watson, with Jin Wong also eventually joining as assistant general manager.

Changes were made to the coaching staff, with Marcus Thames, Jason Bourgeois, Drew Butera, Grady Sizemore and Matt Wise now adding their expertise. Getz set out to improve the team defensively, making the White Sox a comfortable and hopefully attractive place for pitchers, which is baseball’s most important commodity. He also consciously added players who were clubhouse presences, and players with a history of winning.

“I sat down with players. I had some serious conversations with staff, and it wasn't a witch hunt by any stretch,” Getz said. “I was trying to identify patterns, and then set out to improve those areas. It was front office interactions, the coaching staff, the resources, the medical, nutrition, any sort of process that exists that could potentially improve.

“Clearly, there is more work to be done. We need to learn more about our team. I feel like we’ve got the right people to evaluate that, the right people to enhance the skill-sets that we have and make sound decisions moving forward. You just want to stack good decision on top of good decision, and you look up and you are in a pretty good spot.”

There’s a more personal layer of importance for Getz with the White Sox, going beyond his front office addition in October 2016. He actually was part of the White Sox Area Code team as a young player, getting to know director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley and pro scout Nathan Durst.

He was taken by the White Sox out of Grosse Pointe South High School in Michigan during the sixth round of the 2002 Draft. After choosing college, Getz then was selected again by the White Sox in the fourth round of the 2005 Draft out of the University of Michigan. He was the team’s starting second baseman in 2009.

“Anyone in this role would want to do well,” Getz said. “But it’s because of the history I have, I want to get it right.”

It’s about building a culture and developing an identity for the White Sox, as Getz has mentioned numerous times. There’s also a checklist within that plan to move things in the right direction.

“I wanted to establish who we are as an organization and some core values in which we need to be operating,” Getz said. “That’s kind of Step 1. In Step 2, it’s how quickly can we get to the level in which we are competing. And obviously, there’s a lot that goes into that, whether it be roster construction and identifying the right players.

“Lastly, am I providing the resources to those players for the talent enhancements? So those are the three questions I’ve been working on answering for the last six months, and quite honestly the next six to seven months it’s an opportunity to prove how well I did in answering those questions knowing that we are not going to be a finished product.”