Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Angels acquire catcher Chris Iannetta
By Mark Saxon
The Los Angeles Angels acquired catcher Chris Iannetta from the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday in exchange for 21-year-old pitcher Tyler Chatwood.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto had vowed to upgrade the team's lackluster on-base percentage and paltry offensive production from its catchers. Angels catchers batted .192 last year with 10 home runs and 48 RBIs, among the worst marks in the majors.
"Making trades is never easy, but you have to give to get," Dipoto said. "Catching is particularly tough to come by. If you've got [Jered] Weaver, [Dan] Haren, [Ervin] Santana, [Jerome] Williams and [Garrett] Richards, you're not going into it empty-handed. Experienced major league catching, a guy that's in the top half of offensive performers from behind the plate, is tough to walk away from."
Iannetta, 28, has had an on-base percentage of at least .370 in two of his last four seasons. He batted .238 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs last year.
Iannetta said he's looking forward to the chance to play under Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"I've always respected the Angels, what they've done and their manager," he said. "Being a catcher and getting an opportunity to play under him, to learn and develop even more under someone with that character and knowledge of baseball is unbelievably exciting to me."
Acquiring Iannetta could indicate the Angels are considering non-tendering catcher Jeff Mathis, a premium defensive catcher who is a lifetime .194 hitter.
Iannetta is signed for $3.55 million next season, and his contract includes a $5-million option for 2013. The Rockies announced on Twitter that they agreed to terms with free-agent catcher Ramon Hernandez, pending a physical. The contract will be for two years and slightly less than $6.5 million, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
Chatwood was the Angels' No. 5 starter most of last season, going 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA before losing his spot in the rotation to Jerome Williams. The Angels have been in pursuit of several free-agent pitchers, including Texas Rangers ace C.J. Wilson.
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.