According to the busy twitter fingers of the reporters currently at the Jays event in Buffalo, Alex Anthopoulos has revealed that the club has signed second baseman Chris Getz to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Ryan Goins now has another small measure of competition for his spot, as Anthopoulos also says that Getz — like Goins a lefty at the plate, so not a platoon option — could earn playing time at second base once the position battle Getz Goins (sorry).
Thing is, it’s Chris Getz.
If you want to be glib about it, Getz is just another left-handed bat can’t hit and won’t play defence nearly as well as Goins. And… well… the more I look at it, the more it seems like you probably don’t need to say a whole lot more than that.
If you really want to debate it, though, Getz will walk more and strikeout less than Goins, and has flashed the kind of offensive “upside” that a pessimist like me doesn’t even feel comfortable enough to expect out of either of them: a .275/.312/.360 line through a tiny, 210 plate appearance sample while working with Kevin Seitzer in 2012 in Kansas City.
Would that sort of “high-end” “production” offset the gap in their defensive play? Considering how pessimistic I am on Goins’ bat, definitely maybe. But if Getz is better than Goins with the bat — and that’s hardly a given — he still isn’t even the best-hitting hollow-OBP lefty who can play second base currently in the club’s employ. That would be Munenori Kawasaki– and his defence is stable enough that he can be run out there at shortstop. He doesn’t play short particularly well, mind you, but in the competition in my mind, he’d actually probably be in front of both of them until Goins shows he can do anything with the bat.
Of course, there’s also Maicer Izturis, who had an atrocity of a 2013, but who has shown a fucktonne more at the plate than any of these guys– and did so as recently as 2011. Even his 2012, with an 82 wRC+ and a .256/.320/.315 line, is pretty close to the upper end of what you’d expect from any of his competition. Offensively, at least. Defensively, though, Izturis would have to show a whole lot more in Spring Training than he did in 2013 in order to vault himself ahead of the competition. A middle infield of Izturis and Reyes on that damn turf — which Anthopoulos said today might be replaced in a year or two, with grass being more realistic in four-to-five (ugh) — is a scary proposition, defensively, and maybe that’s why the Jays keep insisting Goins has the edge.
Then again, maybe such posturing — and the additions of Kawasaki and Getz as depth — really is just a way to motivate Izturis, who the club still owes $6-million over the next two years. Twitter’s @BVHJays tells me that he remembers Angels announcers suggesting that Izturis looked out of shape last year compared to his time in Anaheim. While I’m just spitballin’ here, and generally loath to get into this kind of bullshit, perhaps some re-dedication could help him overcome some of the struggles he had last year.
It’s a tall order for an aging player coming off a season in which he was two wins below replacement, but he remains intriguing to me for more than just a utility spot. His defence has never been close to as bad as it was in 2013, and he’s a switch hitter who posted a wRC+ between 89 and 102 against right-handers for every season from 2007 to 2012, and was an above-league-average hitter against lefties from 2009 through 2011.
So pick your poison, Jays!
But before you do, don’t forget, not all “no-hit” players are created equal, and those clamoring for the defensive wizardry of Ryan Goins often don’t quite understand how the bat still matters. A bat too awful can still undo all the good a player can bring with the glove.
The projections available on each player’s FanGraphs page underline that. The usual caveat applies — projections aren’t the be-all, end-all — but it’s interesting to see that, over 600 plate appearances, the Oliver system suggests that all four would be exactly the same: +0.6 WAR.
How they get there, though, is quite different: Izturis is the best hitter and worst defender, Goins provides a tonne with his glove and pisses it all away with his bat, while Kawasaki has a slightly better bat and the defensive edge on Getz, who makes up for the differnce on the base paths.
If forced to choose, I think I’d have to argue that Kawasaki is the safe option. However, if you don’t believe the defensive metrics are accurate, don’t think they’re weighted properly in FanGraphs’ WAR calculation, or don’t think they can be swallowed whole without context of team and turf — certainly a defensible position, though one I probably wouldn’t take myself — you could argue for Goins. He certainly has some upside with the bat that could make him the better option overall, but there’s not a lot of certainty that he’ll reach it. The Izturis of two or three years ago would have been head and shoulders above any of these guys, I think, which is why he was signed to a multi-year deal last year, with the thought that he might even be a bargain after a small dip in 2012 that ended up turning into a massive chasm in 2013. He could win back playing time by doing a good job in a utility role, but would have to show a tonne in the spring to make anybody forget the awfulness of last season, and even still makes one cringe with the thought of him and Reyes on the turf.
Getz, unless Seitzer can work a miracle, has to be just depth — a second baseman for Buffalo who’ll play up the middle with whichever of Kawasaki or Goins isn’t in the big leagues. And Stephen Drew is sitting at home waiting for a team to offer him a pillow deal, while the Toronto FC, co-owned by Rogers and worth a fraction of what the Jays are worth as a TV property, is laying out buckets of cash on players.
Of course, it’s not April yet. And Getz being in the fold doesn’t prevent the club from doing a damn thing. SO FUCKING DO SOMETHING ALREADY!