The Kansas City Royals gave another fond farewell to a long-time member this week as the team decided to non-tender second baseman Chris Gets. Getz was a dependable contributor to the Royals for four seasons starting in 2010. Those who follow the team will recognize him as a smart, likeable, team-first kind of guy, which makes it sad to see him leave KC for free agency. Nonetheless, this move was just another necessary step in the multifaceted plan for Kansas City in this critical offseason.
Getz began his MLB career with the Chicago White Sox at 24. In 117 games over two years as a part-time second baseman, he proved to be a reliable defender with speed that could hit for a respectable average. During his time in Chicago, Getz recorded a .262/.323/.346 line with 26 stolen bases and 51 runs scored.
With the Royals, Getz played solid defense and provided a steady average with his bat. In 2013, however, Getz struggled immensely. This year, Getz became an offensive liability whose defense was only marginally better than the average defender. He committed four errors in his 68 starts at second base and recorded a UZR of 3.0. While that obviously isn’t terrible, it doesn’t account for his lack of offensive production and it pales in comparison to the rest of KC’s defense. Eight players who played in at least 300 innings for the Royals last season recorded a higher UZR than Getz.
Last year’s offensive output from Getz was the real problem. He batted only .220 in 78 games and recorded only eight hits for extra bases. Add to that a few game-changing pick-offs with Getz at first base and it became clear that his production wouldn’t cut it as a starter (at that time).
Fans who know him won’t feel great seeing a guy like Getz leave KC, but parting ways was necessary. The Royals are trimming payroll anywhere they can in order to find that offensive upgrade, whoever it may be. Perhaps this move will be remembered as a prelude to the Royals bringing the oft-mentioned Mark Ellis in to start at second base. Either way, the money not spent on Getz, along with the rest of the cash saved on letting go of others, will presumably go towards acquiring that much-needed offensive upgrade.
Getz is now 30 with six years of major league ball under his belt. He’s always done the small things right, and he’s only recorded a batting average below .255 in one season prior to 2013. He should find a new home quickly, perhaps in the NL, where he will once again be well-appreciated.