Aug 13, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) walks back to dugout after pitching against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Chicago White Sox, Chris Getz will be the first to tell you, have a lot of holes on their roster.
In fact, Getz said that Anderson’s no longer a White Sock because of that very issue, implying that the $13 million the team didn’t spend on one more year of their former face of the franchise will be helpful in filling as many of those holes as possible this winter.
“We have a lot of holes to fill on our club,” Getz said Tuesday at baseball’s general manager meetings in Arizona. “We had 101 losses last year, so we have to fill so many holes in both the near term and long term that we felt it was the best decision to decline that option.
“You have to find a way to allocate resources and figure out the best way to do that.”
Jettisoning Anderson — who despite coming off a career-worst season in 2023 is a one-time batting champ and two-time AL All Star — is the latest and most forceful example of Getz steering these White Sox in a new direction. For all the cries that the promotion of Getz was just more of the same at 35th and Shields, there’s been an awful lot of change under his watch.
And the hope is that remaking the front-office brain trust and the coaching staff around Pedro Grifol is just the beginning. If there was any big takeaway from Tuesday’s session, it was that Getz is looking to establish a new identity on the South Side, something he saw as severely lacking in recent years.
“We have a talented group, there is no question,” Getz said before uttering the day’s juiciest sound bite. “I don’t like our team.
“We’ve got pieces that are talented and attractive, and they can be part of a winning club. But obviously, we haven’t gone out there and performed. It’s not a well-rounded club right now. We have to find players to come in here and help get us in the right direction. And if that means that we use some of the players we have to multiply and not only help us in the near term but also in the long term, as well, (then that’s what we’ll do).”
And so, in a reiteration of something he said when he was introduced as the White Sox’ new GM in August, Getz once more affirmed that there are no “untouchables” on this roster, opening up quite the can of worms over what might happen this winter — and whether Anderson will be the only long-term South Sider to get shown the door.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale recently reported that the White Sox are willing to listen to trade offers involving Dylan Cease, and while it’s the job of any general manager to listen to everything that comes his or her way, Getz said that moves like trying to find a future-bolstering return package for the ace of his pitching-starved pitching staff are at least being considered. That could apply to position players, such as Eloy Jiménez, who Getz was asked about, as well.
“Dylan, obviously, is an established major league starter, he’s got front-end ability, and there isn’t a team that wouldn’t want Dylan Cease on their roster. And Eloy is a power bat that any lineup would benefit from having. Those types of moves are under consideration, they are,” Getz said. “Once again, if we feel like we can multiply or strengthen our group both presently and in the future, then we’re going to look at that.
“(Any trade of Cease would have) to make sense. We’ve got a rotation that needs to fill out. We’ve got some young arms in our system that are maturing. I don’t want to rush them to the major leagues. I think that’s unfair to them and unfair to the White Sox.
“Certainly any return for any player — if we’re trying to address the pitching needs that we have — it needs to make sense. So in any deal, filling out the rotation is certainly at the forefront.”
Cease was bandied about as a possible trade chip back when Rick Hahn was still running things at the trade deadline, but no deal came and Cease stayed in place. His follow-up to his spectacular 2022 campaign — which saw him finish second in the AL Cy Young vote — was not as sparkling, though a strong finish helped remind that he can still be that type of elite pitcher.
Unfortunately for the White Sox, he’s the only dependable starting pitcher they have in place, with questions surrounding Michael Kopech following a horrid 2023 and no other proven arms to pencil into next year’s rotation, hence Getz saying that any trade of Cease would have to put the long-term health of the starting staff in a better spot than it is currently.
This might sound like a bunch of rebuild talk to plenty of fans, reminiscent of the trade that brought Cease here in the first place, and Getz didn’t exactly dismiss such a notion by refusing to commit to building a team that would compete for an AL Central title in 2024. If anything, his repeated descriptions of attempting to establish a organization-wide identity and addressing a laundry list of needs pointed toward a job that could take multiple offseasons to accomplish, even if Jerry Reinsdorf’s reasoning for promotion Getz without interviewing any outside candidates was that Getz would turn the franchise around quicker than anyone else.\
How fast can Chris Getz turn the White Sox around?
But even if Getz is tasked with engineering a South Side turnaround as quickly as possible, is it still impossible for that to get done in one winter?
“It’s tough to answer, quite honestly, because we do have so many holes to fill to be a championship-type caliber club,” Getz said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be able to make a lot of strides and feel really good about our club both in ‘24 and beyond.”
Getz is all in on improving defensively, but good luck overhauling the gloves of one of baseball’s worst defensive teams in one winter.
Getz is all in on establishing a better offensive approach — and there’s a new hitting coach in town who will be part of that solution — but good luck getting big-time changes from players whose offensive approach contributed to horrific on-base and power numbers in recent seasons.
Getz knows this team needs pitching in a bad way, and he’s all in on finding it. But good luck on importing that many new arms in one offseason.
To my ears, it sounded Tuesday as if any moves Getz and his front office make this winter — and there will need to be many, even if the division championship isn’t a realistic goal — will have to benefit the team past the 2024 season. That could give Getz’s cultural makeover time to take root. That could give top prospect Colson Montgomery and a host of young pitchers enough time to matriculate through the farm system.
But what’s clear is that Getz wants change. He’s trying to take the team in a different direction. Who knows if it will work, but it is the newness fans were clamoring for when Hahn and Kenny Williams were shockingly fired over the summer.
That process starts now.
We just have no idea how long it will last — or who else will have to go to make it happen.
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