Boy, Chris Iannetta's 2010 tryout sure didn't last long. Off to a slow start, Iannetta's not only lost playing time to Miguel Olivo; now he's lost his roster spot. Here's Jack Moore with the gory details:
This is just another exercise in the dangers of using small sample sizes to evaluate player performances. Miguel Olivo is showing all of the problem signs that have resulted in a .279 career on base percentage and an 82 career wRC+. Olivo’s BB% and K% of 4.3 and 35.6 respectively are right in line with his career marks, and his ridiculous .375 BABIP and 38.5% HR/FB rate are the only things keeping his line afloat. There’s no way that he sustains this kind of production, and ZiPS suggest we can expect him to produce at his typical .287 OBP level for the rest of the season.
It shouldn’t take long for Iannetta to make it clear that he belongs in the major league and for Olivo to demonstrate that he belongs on the bench. Iannetta should especially thrive at Colorado Springs, one of the most hitter-friendly parks in professional baseball. When Iannetta comes back and starts put up numbers like his career .349 wOBA, people will likely claim that the minor league stint helped him get his head right. In reality, it will simply be hits falling in for Iannetta where they weren’t before.
Look, there are things that Jack Moore (probably) doesn't know, and there are things that I (definitely) don't know. Maybe Iannetta's not working hard. Maybe he's walking around the clubhouse with a five-mile stare. Maybe when he's not in the lineup, he sneaks into Jim Tracy's office and smears boogers on his desk.
The odd thing is that just a few months ago, the Rockies indicated that Iannetta was a big part of their future, signing him to a three-year contract extension worth $8.35 million. Well, they sort of indicated that. They sort of contra-indicated that when they signed Olivo and his .278 career on-base percentage for $2.5 million. Particularly considering that both Iannetta and Oliva bat right-handed.
So you might forgive Iannetta, after his benching last September and the arrival of Mister .278, to question his place in the world. Some players -- not all, but some -- aren't at their best when wondering about their place. Aside from the three-year contract -- and yes, we have to acknowledge that $8.35 million is a lot of money, even after taxes -- if you were running the Rockies and you were trying to screw Iannetta up, isn't this roughly how you would do it?
Jack's probably right, though. Iannetta will go to C-Springs and hit, and Olivo will play more and won't hit, and everything in the world will seem right again. These things happen, and usually they're forgotten within a few months. Ideally, managers and general managers would know exactly how to handle every man on the roster. Know when to yell at him, when to speak softly to him, and everything in between. Realistically, they don't. There's never been a manager who was that smart.
Fortunately, managers don't have to be that smart. If Iannetta can't handle this one, he probably wouldn't handle all the other stuff that comes up, either. Most players, if they need a lot of babying from the manager, have problems that all the babying in the world can't fix.