Focus of White Sox’ rebuild shifting to player development

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Chris Getz had roots with the White Sox as a player, but he came to his job as their director of player development by way of the Royals, for whom he was an assistant in baseball operations.

Getz, 33, saw how the Royals successfully funneled young talent onto a World Series championship roster, but he didn’t arrive on the scene with the Sox last October to make sweeping changes.

‘‘Really, it’s to continue the vision of what [general manager] Rick [Hahn] and [vice president] Kenny [Williams] have laid out,’’ Getz said. ‘‘From a [player-development] side, you get to know the players, build relationships and use your staff to get players to improve. It’s certainly not rocket science, but it [requires] a lot of attention and passion. I like to think I bring those things to the table.’’

Now that Hahn and Williams have shipped out most of their veterans for a bundle of prospects in the first phase of the Sox’ rebuild, the focus will shift to how those players develop in an organization that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008, the fourth-longest drought of any major-league team.

Coaching at all levels is ‘‘the bones of it,’’ Getz said.

‘‘The impact you can have, the message that you’re giving to the player,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re also trying to improve these guys off the field because we know that’s what it takes to be successful at the major-league level.’’

The Sox are known for moving players through their system quickly — too quickly in some cases, critics say. But their record is 47-74 after their 3-2 victory Sunday against the Rangers, so there’s no need to rush anyone.

‘‘We can be very patient with these players and be a bit more cautious . . . to fully develop these guys to be the best players they can be and as well-rounded as possible,’’ Getz said. ‘‘The players truly dictate whether they’re ready for another level.’’

The Sox took their time bringing second baseman Yoan Moncada to the majors, waiting till July 19, and brought up right-hander Reynaldo Lopez on Aug. 11. Right-hander Lucas Giolito will be called up to start Tuesday against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Player development continues at the major-league level. It’s ongoing for Moncada, Lopez, shortstop Tim Anderson (in his second season) and left-hander Carlos Rodon (in his third).

‘‘This game is about adjustments,’’ Getz said. ‘‘You’re constantly evolving as a player based on experiences, physically and mentally.’’

‘‘There’s a lot of [player development] going on right now,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘As clubs continue to transition with younger and younger players and you are trying to maintain rosters that are going to be fluid, there’s always going to be a lot of teaching going on at the major-league level. It doesn’t stop.

‘‘Believe it or not, even veterans learn things they might not have understood previously.’’

One of Renteria’s remaining veterans, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, worked around trouble to pitch six scoreless innings in upper-90s temperatures against the Rangers. The Sox scored three runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Omar Narvaez and a two-run double by Tyler Saladino. Juan Minaya allowed a home run in the ninth to the Rangers’ Rougned Odor but earned his second career save.

Because of his roots with the Sox, the organization ‘‘is a special place’’ for Getz.

‘‘The phase we’re in . . . there is a lot of work to be done,’’ he said. ‘‘None of us [is] satisfied, and we’ll never be satisfied because we want to grow these players into what we envision them to be. It’s been an exhilarating experience; it really has.

‘‘We need to provide a positive environment for these guys to become championship-type baseball players.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

 


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