In a move that took a week to develop, the Colorado Rockies traded catcher Chris Iannetta to the Los Angeles Angels for right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood. The catalyst for this move was the Rockies “nearly completed” signing of free-agent catcher Ramon Hernandez, who hit .282 with 12 HR and 36 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds last season.
Iannetta, having been with the organization for seven years, told the Denver Post’s Troy Renck “A lot of good things happened. It was a great time, a learning experience. I am going to miss the guys.”
The move to trade Iannetta was a fast one as interest in Hernandez built during the GM meetings, and the ability to get Chatwood for Iannetta sealed the deal. Iannetta takes a .235 AVG to Anaheim while Chatwood brings a 95-mph fastball and a serviceable curveball to Denver. “It is very difficult to trade a homegrown player. We felt timing was right to add another young power arm,” Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd told Troy Renck.
Hernandez will receive, reportedly, $6.5 million over his two-year contract. Iannetta will maintain his current contract with Los Angeles, though he will be a free agent after next season.
Chatwood will get a shot at making the starting rotation. I don’t know enough about him to say he can or can’t make it, as starting rotation spots can still be reasonably fought for and won during spring training.
Obviously, this makes Hernandez the starting catcher. He will be expected to groom catcher Willin Rosario over the next two years. This is, of course, barring the Rockies moving Hernandez, as the front office seems to love to keep catchers on their toes. This will be the fourth starting catcher in four years: Yorvit Torrealba, Miguel Olivo, Iannetta and, now, Hernandez.
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