Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto's first transaction with the Halos was a trade. He acquired catcher Chris Iannetta from the Colorado Rockies for young pitcher Tyler Chatwood on Wednesday. Iannetta was excited to join his new club.
"There are a lot of emotions just because it was the first team I have ever played for, the team that drafted me," Iannetta said on Wednesday. "But I couldn't have asked for a better organization to go to than the Los Angeles Angels."
Iannetta's strength his his offense. He had a .370 on-base percentage with 14 in 2011 and a .357 OBP in his career. Of his approach at the plate, the 28-year old catcher said it began in the minor leagues. "I didn't like getting myself out, so I worked on good pitches to hit," Iannetta said. "Pitching is hard, I've seen it from the catching position."
It is worth noting that in his six seasons Iannetta hit .262/.377/.489 at the offensive haven that is Coors Field in Colorado, while hitting just .208/.338/.369 in his career on the road.
Iannetta said he was extremely excited to be able to catch a staff that includes Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. "I have a ton of respect for all three pitchers. All three can at any time be in Cy Young contention," Iannetta said.
Iannetta will make $3.55 million in 2012, and has a club option worth $5 million for 2013 that can be bought out for $250,000. With the trade to the Angels, the option becomes a mutual option with Iannetta having the right to decline. But the catcher said that he is not thinking about that now, and that it is something he and his agent, Alan Nero of Octagon, will address next winter.
Whether they get one or two years out of Iannetta, this trade is a bit of a gamble for the Angels. The soon-to-be 22-year old Chatwood still has six years before hitting free agency and already has 25 big league starts under his belt. Chatwood's peripherals weren't anything special - 71 walks and 74 strikeouts in 142 MLB innings - but as recently as one year ago he was rated as the club's second-best prospect by Baseball America.
But for a team like the Angels that saw their catchers hit .192/.252/.302 in 2011, the gamble might have been worth it.
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