Last season was supposed to be the year for Chris Getz. Acquired via the Mark Teahen trade, Getz was brought in to shore up the middle-infield defense at second base, add some speed to the lineup, and help make the roster marginally younger. (Getz himself would be cheap, but when you factor in the money sent back to Chicago, it wasn't much of a cost-cutting move.) The Royals wanted to hand the position to Chris Getz and they more or less did. Unfortunately, he wasn't very good.
Should we give up on Chris Getz or is there still any reason to expect more?
In 72 games last season, Getz hit a disappointing .237/.302/.277. His offensive game totally collapsed, with a low batting average dragging down his entire profile. I give Getz credit for at least managing to post a .302 OBP with a bad BA and no power. He did what he could to get on-base, and for that reason alone, he escaped having one of the worst offensive seasons of any player this century. Nevertheless, a .302 OBP is still, overall, bad.
Coupled with middling defensive numbers and a healthy positional bump, Getz was nearly exactly replacement level in 2010. Replacement level is not good. As a Royals fan I've been so used to sub-replacement level players that I sometimes see a -0.1 WAR and think, "hey, that's alright." It's not.
In his age 26 season, Chris Getz was not a productive baseball player. He was not good. He did not make the team better. He was one of the worst second-basemen in the AL, and if you look at some of the guys that got sent out there in 2010, you know that's not saying much.
At this point, Getz's future in baseball depends on his batting average. Getz's BABIP last season was .270, which is a little low for a fast-ish player, but it's not catastrophically OMG he was super unlucky low. Getz hit .298 on balls in play in 2009, and that's somewhat reasonable to expect next season. Almost entirely on a BABIP bump, the always hopeful Bill James Projections forsee a .264/.333/.339 mini-comeback in 2010.
Getz walked in 7.7% of his plate appearances and struck out in 12.5% of them. I'm a little worried that in 2010, in an effort to have him cut down on strikeouts, the Royals will encourage Getz to be more aggressive and try to be more of a slap hitter. In that scenario, Getz's strikeouts, walks, and line drives will all likely go down, making him just as bad or possibly even worse.
In light of Mike Aviles's resurgent September, it seems likely that the Royals will start the 2011 with Getz the lesser half of some kind of offense/defense platoon at second. However, Aviles is not exactly on solid ground performance wise, health wise, or status in the organization wise. By all indication, the Royals, at some level, "like" Chris Getz. At 670 career plate appearances, with a lifetime, .252/.315/.320 triple slash line and blah defense, I'm not sure there's much reason for them to continue doing so.