Free agent catcher Chris Iannetta signed a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks, as confirmed by the team on Friday night. According to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com, the deal is set at $1.5 million.
The 33-year-old backstop batted .210/.303/.329 with seven home runs and 24 RBI for the Mariners in 2016. He was even shakier on defense, seeing a significant regression in his pitch framing skills that left him ranked among the worst defensive catchers in the league during the 2016 season (via StatCorner).
The Diamondbacks acquired another veteran backstop in Jeff Mathis last month, signing the 33-year-old free agent to a more sizable two-year contract. While Iannetta’s defense has yet to stabilize, Mathis’ skills behind the plate placed him among the top 20 performers in 2016. Piecoro reports that the Diamondbacks have high hopes for Iannetta’s on-base and power potential, neither of which appear to have surfaced in recent years. With Iannetta and Mathis hovering around the Mendoza line, both catchers are expected to partner with the more offensively-talented Chris Herrmann behind the plate in 2017.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.
Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.
Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.
Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.
The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.
Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.
Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.
UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: