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Rockies demoting Opening Day catcher Chris Iannetta to Triple-A

Apr 27, 2010, 12:42 PM EDT

To make room on the roster for all their pitcher shuffling the Rockies are reportedly demoting Opening Day catcher Chris Iannetta to Triple-A.
Iannetta is off to a 4-for-30 (.133) start, but it sure seems odd to demote a 27-year-old veteran of 293 career games to Triple-A based on 30 bad at-bats after handing him an $8.3 million contract this offseason and starting him on Opening Day. The notion that Iannetta has anything left to learn or prove in the minors is fairly absurd.
Iannetta has gone through big slumps before, but has posted an OPS above .800 in back-to-back seasons as the Rockies’ primary catcher and has a career mark of .799 in 1,118 plate appearances. By comparison Miguel Olivo has a career OPS of .707 and has topped .730 just once in nine seasons, but has leap-frogged Iannetta on the depth chart based on a dozen strong games.
Some very short-sighted thinking by the Rockies, because if Iannetta warranted an $8.3 million deal this offseason and a start on Opening Day he certainly deserves more than eight games to get on track before sending him back to the minors at age 27. Since his debut in 2006 only six catchers have a higher OPS than Iannetta: Joe Mauer, Jorge Posada, Brian McCann, Mike Napoli, Victor Martinez, Geovany Soto.

  1. GimmeSomeSteel - Apr 27, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    I don’t see a problem with the demotion. It’s clearly very temporary considering that Paul Phillips was recalled to replace him, and it gives Iannetta a chance to get his hitting stroke together without hurting the big league club. He’ll be back soon enough, and Olivo will cool off.

  2. Steve B - Apr 27, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Use OPS+ for Rockies players if no one else, pretty please?

  3. Ross - Apr 27, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    It could be worse. They could also decide to put Ubaldo in the pen for an undetermined amount of time…

  4. Jonny5 - Apr 27, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Hey there are always “other factors” as well. He coulda told someone to go “f” off. He coulda got into a scuffle in the locker room after having his balls broken for a bad start. That’s why i don’t question “questionable moves” such as this one. It could be any other reason besides his performance.

  5. Chucho - Apr 27, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    GimmeSomeSteel is completely right. They are just sending him down to get more at bats and to get into the groove of hitting once again. With the way Olivo is playing right now, there is no room/time for Iannetta to find his swing with the Major League club. There is no doubt he will be up shortly. I thank you, Aaron Gleeman, for your concern. However, there is nothing malicious with this move.

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