The Curious Case of Los Angeles Angels’ Chris Iannetta
What do you do with a catcher who can’t throw anyone out, can’t seem to hit, but is annoyingly good at getting on base?
This is the question that the Los Angeles Angels have been trying to answer all season. At .218, catcher Chris Iannetta has the lowest batting average of anyone on the team, including the reeling Josh Hamilton, and yet his .362 on-base percentage is second only to Mike Trout‘s. Clearly his experience behind the plate has sharpened his eye as a hitter; he has walked 56 times this season, the 12th highest total in the American League despite having played only 87 games.
As I wrote a couple of days ago, Iannetta has been woefully inadequate at throwing runners out. Thus there is really no real place to put him, unless the commissioner decided to replace the designated hitter position with designated walker.
In all seriousness, the Angels must address their catching in the offseason. Far from being an asset, the Halos’ woes behind the plate have cost them games at a time when injuries and underperformance have left them with zero room for error all season. Owed $10.5 million by the Angels over the next two seasons, shouldn’t Los Angeles be looking to get rid of him?
Walks and on-base percentage are valuable, but those simply do not outweigh gifting second base to any baserunner with a pulse. For $10.5 million, walks just won’t cut it, and if the Angels are serious about building a solid team around Mike Trout and Jered Weaver, they must plug this glaring hole in their roster.