Dan O’Dowd’s apparent obsession with refilling a depleted farm system with young pitchers has now officially reached dizzying heights. Yesterday, he dealt catcher Chris Iannetta to the Los Angeles Angels for pitcher Tyler Chatwood, adding yet another arm to the Rockies’ collection of untested potential superstars. Chatwood has 142 innings of major-league experience, with an ERA of 4.75. He, like Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, along with Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio, is young but might be great. So now we have five of those.
The Rockies are also in the midst of negotiating a deal with Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez, who would take over the starting job from Iannetta. The move is a clear sign of the organization’s belief in Wilin Rosario as the Rockies’ catcher of the future. He’s not ready to start every day, so Hernandez is a one or two year stop-gap that will give Rosario the time he needs to develop. He’s an older version of Iannetta with slightly better offensive numbers, so there’s no real upgrade here, but again, he’s not a long-term solution.
I’m so sad to lose Iannetta, who’s been so solid for the Rockies in his time with the team. He’s a great defensive catcher and a patient hitter and, while he never hit for power quite enough to satisfy anybody, he gave a whole lot more than most teams get from the 8-hole. And I’m skeptical as to how this trade works out for the Rockies. O’Dowd clearly has young pitching at the top of his get list right now, which is a risky priority. In three or four years, the Rockies could have the best starting rotation in baseball. Or, they could have a bunch of failed experiments. In the long run, if Chatwood works out, I’ll be glad O’Dowd made this trade, but as it is I’m just bummed to have lost Iannetta.