Indians, Pirates asking about Rockies’ Chris Iannetta

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Cleveland and Pittsburgh are among a number of teams to have asked Colorado about catcher Chris Iannetta, according to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.

Iannetta’s name has come up in rumors numerous times over the last couple of years, largely because so many are convinced that the Rockies don’t value his contributions properly.  They’ve been guilty of sitting him behind seemingly inferior catchers in Yorvit Torrealba and Miguel Olivo, but they also gave him a three-year, $8.35 million deal prior to 2010 that showed a commitment to him.

Much of the old Iannetta speculation centered on the Red Sox, since not only is Iannetta a Rhode Island native, but his offensive contributions, which come mostly in the form of homers and walks, are supposed to be especially appreciated by the so-called Moneyball teams.

The Red Sox, though, are happy with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek at the moment and aren’t hunting for catching help.

The Pirates have a big need at catcher with both Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit on the shelf.  The Indians have Carlos Santana behind the plate, but they don’t mind using him at first base.  If they got Iannetta, they’d probably give him most of the starts behind the plate, with Santana playing first base and serving as a DH against left-handers.

Playing pretty regularly this year, Iannetta is hitting .224/.376/.412 with 10 homers and 36 RBI in 228 at-bats.   Brian McCann is the only regular catcher with a better on-base percentage and McCann, Ramon Hernandez, Alex Avila and Miguel Montero are the only starting catchers with superior OPSs.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.