Hello and welcome to another episode of "Jerry Dipoto Makes a Trade". Today we follow our beatific hero in Episode VI: "Wait I can get players without trading the hell?" A bit back we had identified catcher/Mike Trout body double Chris Iannetta as a potential free agent target. He was, after all, a catcher, and the Mariners are in need of letting Mike Zunino chase bumpers in Tacoma for a bit. The fit was obvious, and sometimes we get one right:
#Mariners have signed catcher Chris Iannetta to a 1-year deal.— Tim Booth (@ByTimBooth) November 23, 2015
At this moment we still don't have the dollar figure for the contract. Fangraphs community projections had Iannetta signing a 2/$12 mil deal. If we use that as a base and up a few million to compensate for a 1 year deal I'm imagining it's somewhere in the 6.5-8 million dollar range.
If you're the type that likes to parse media quotes, and I know many of you are, you can take a look at this from Dipoto:
Dipto's statemen on signing Iannetta: pic.twitter.com/bJZVbMq8cg— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) November 23, 2015
I find it a bit interesting that he refers to Iannetta as "depth". There's no way this team is going to break camp with Mike Zunino as its starting catcher, and I don't see how he or the organization is served with him in a backup role. It makes a lot of sense to add another catcher. But my presumption has been it would be someone to back up Iannetta, not vice versa. Could Dipoto have another trade up his sleeve to add another catcher? (the answer is yes, as Jerry Dipoto loves trades. He loves them so much and he can't wait to spend Thanksgiving with all his trades.)
This signing fills arguably the single most glaring hole in the Mariners organization. As we wrote previously Iannetta was miserable offensively in 2015 but has a pedigree of decent production for a catcher and an excellent profile defensively. Dipoto has made it clear he believes in acquiring players at the low point in their career, hoping for a bounce back. That's what he did with Leonys Martin, it's what he did with Luis Sardinas, and now add Chris Iannetta. The 2016 Mariners are going to place a hefty amount of hope in players having flukey bad seasons in 2015, not the beginning of career ending decline. Given the shape of the roster, and the fact that they don't have a lot of flexibility it's not a bad strategy, but one you have to hit on.
More tomorrow I assume. And the next day. And the next. The story of the Jerry Dipoto Era in Seattle will be written around his success at developing a farm system capable of producing multiple cheap major leaguers. But for this offseason it's going to be about the way he churned through seemingly half the major league roster by Thanksgiving. Given remaining needs at catcher, starting pitcher, and outfield I imagine there's only more to come. I feel like I write that every time he adds a player. What a swift makeover.