Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich was a guest on the MLB Network on Wednesday afternoon and discussed a number of topics, including the team’s young pitching staff and the growth some of his stars have undergone in the past couple of years.
Among the players discussed during Bridich during his time on MLB Network was the first player the Rockies signed this offseason (and the only position player inked thus far), catcher Chris Iannetta.
In somewhat of a shocking move in early December, Iannetta and the Rockies reunited with a two-year deal worth $8.5 million. It was thought that the Rockies would bring back Jonathan Lucroy after acquiring the former All-Star catcher at the trade deadline. However, Iannetta brought value to the position at what will likely be a lower rate than whatever contract Lucroy signs. At this time, Lucroy remains a free agent.
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Iannetta, who will turn 35 on April 8 and played in Colorado from 2006-2011, saw action in just 89 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. However, in 272 at-bats, Iannetta hammered 17 home runs while driving in 43 RBI. He put together a slash line of .254/.354/.511.
He did not see action in Arizona’s Wild Card win over the Rockies and went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in the NLDS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those 17 regular-season home runs however, are the most Iannetta hit since he blasted 18 in 104 games with the Rockies in 2008, seemed very appealing to Bridich in his discussion with MLB Network analysts.
"“Chris Iannetta brings some offense as well as the defense that he brings. He brings some power and some offense to our catching spot combined with whoever might be backing him up over the course of a season,” Bridich said."
As a reference point, Lucroy hit just six homers last season between the Texas Rangers and Rockies, with two of those coming in a Colorado uniform. So yes, Iannetta has the chance to provide a power boost for the Rockies at catcher next season.
Those backing up Iannetta in 2018 will likely be Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy, both of whom will look to rebound from down seasons in 2017. However, it could be close to a split of time if Iannetta catches in roughly the same amount of games he did with the Diamondbacks last year.
Both Wolters and Murphy (as well as Colorado’s young rotation) benefitted from Lucroy’s experience last season and will likely get another learning experience with Iannetta, an intangible that can’t be measured in any statistic.