Chris Iannetta signed a three-year, $15.55-million contract to stay with… (Monica M. Davey / EPA )
The Angels got a jump on their off-season agenda Friday, signing catcher Chris Iannetta to a three-year, $15.55-million contract that includes $1.95 million in incentives based on games started.
Iannetta, 29, acquired from Colorado for pitcher Tyler Chatwood last winter, missed most of May, June and July because of wrist and forearm injuries but still made enough of an impression for the Angels to lock him up through 2015. Iannetta's previous contract had a $5-million mutual option for 2013.
"It was a no-brainer for us," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "The presence he brings behind plate, the way worked with the pitching staff as the season wore on, the offense he delivered … a lot of what he does transcends his stat line."
Iannetta hit .240 with a .332 on-base percentage, nine home runs, 26 runs batted in, 29 walks and 60 strikeouts in 79 games. He averaged 4.05 pitches per plate appearance, second on the team to Mike Trout (4.08). Pitchers had a 3.90 earned run average with Iannetta catching.
"You saw so many eight-, 10-, 12-pitch at-bats that wore down opposing pitchers and turned over the lineup for Mike Trout, Torii Hunter and Albert Pujols," Dipoto said. "The quality of his at-bats was tremendous. When he got back to full strength, it had a profound effect on the team."
The Iannetta deal means former first-round pick Hank Conger, 24, will be relegated to a reserve role, though as a left-handed hitter with some power, he could be a complement to the right-handed-hitting Iannetta. Or, Conger could be used as a trade chip.
"We believe in Hank's future, whether that means his opportunity to be an everyday player comes later in his career or whether he's in more of a support role," Dipoto said. "This is about Chris Iannetta and what he brings. We feel comfortable with him as everyday catcher."