Farewell, Chris Getz

Chris GetzThe end of an era arrived yesterday when the Kansas City Royals non-tendered 2nd baseman Chris Getz. The Royals acquired Getz on November 6, 2009 along with Josh Fields for Mark Teahan.

Over the next four years, Getz fought off challenges at 2nd base from such players as Yuniesky Betancourt, Miguel Tejada, Elliot Johnson, Irving Falu and on multiple occasions, Johnny Giavotella. Each time the Royals signed or promoted a player to replace Getz, he somehow overcame the challenge and reclaimed his job.

That string finally ended with the acquisition of Emilio Bonifacio this past year.

Bonifacio succeeded where so many others had failed; resulting in Getz starting just 4 games at 2nd after Bonifacio’s arrival on August 24th.

Getz achieved a 248 batting average with just 1 HR and 79 RBIs during his four years as a Royal. He did steal 61 bases, often as a pinch runner, and added 33 sacrifices, possibly his most notable offensive contributions. However, his combined WAR over that term was a very marginal 1.5 not to mention negative WPA and RE24 numbers (indications of win probability) in each season.

Getz’ fielding also proved a divisive point throughout his term in Kansas City with the Royals always praising his defensive ability while others outside the organisation openly questioned his range and sometimes dubious play.

Injuries proved another bane to Getz’s existence, spending considerable time on the disabled list in each of his four seasons that ultimately created several of those opportunities for others to replace him at 2nd. Some injuries bordered on the bizarre including breaking a finger on a failed bunt attempt that ended his 2012 season.

Another incident that marred Getz’ time in KC occurred when the Royals sent him down to AAA last June following the worst start of his career. Rather than report straight away to Omaha, Getz mysteriously disappeared for more than a week, causing numerous questions about his handling of the demotion.

On the positive side, Getz was well liked by his teammates as I personally noted during spring training two years ago when players like Hosmer and Moustakas always hung with Chris before and during games and practices. However, it was manager Ned Yost’s seemingly constant praise of Getz that often rankled fans, causing open derision on comment boards and call in shows. Had Yost’s support not been so persistent, it is very possible that Getz may have been far less controversial among fans.

In the end, Getz’ limited flexibility and overall mediocrity finally sealed his doom. While Bonifacio, Pedro Ciriaco, and even prospect Christian Colon can play multiple positions, Getz seemed only to handle 2nd base, a lack of utility not conducive to a long career when you have not shown the offensive or defensive tools to match.

A few fans were sad to see the news yesterday that Chris Getz had been non-tendered while others openly rejoiced, declaring 2 December a holiday in Royal land. While Getz made a limited impact on the field, he definitely proved one of the most controversial and talked about Royals in eons.

Like the famed Phoenix, Getz continually rose from the ashes, surviving challenge after challenge to stand alone at 2nd base year after year. If you remember him for nothing else, remember him for that especially given all the grief he received from the media and fans during that time.

Hopefully, Chris Getz finds a new home and a new life with another team, and just maybe one without the controversy of his past four years in KC. In the end, we say farewell, Chris Getz. It was good to watch you play, but probably better to see you go.

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