Following the model that made the Cleveland Indians very successful in the 90’s the Colorado Rockies are locking up their young players.
The Rockies have already locked up Troy Tulowitzki, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brad Hawpe, Aaron Cook, and Jeff Francis. And now they have locked up another young talent.
The Rockies today locked up 26-year-old catcher Chris Iannetta for three more years. The Rockies signed Iannetta to a three-year, $8.3 million contract with a $5 million club option for 2013.
The contract cancels out Iannetta’s arbitration years and as Tony Renck of the Denver Post points out, it gives the Rockies cost certainty going forward.
Now the question I have is–did the Rockies just sign the next Ben Petrick or a guy who could be one of the best offensive catchers in the game?
For those of you who don’t remember, Petrick was supposed to be the Rockies’ catcher of the future in the late-90’s/early-2000’s. In 2000, Petrick hit .322 in 52 games and everyone thought–including myself–that Petrick would be the next big Rockies’ slugger.
Petrick then hit .238 in 2001 and .211 in 2002 and by 2004 he was out of baseball. Petrick went from young stud to bust rather quickly.
Iannetta looks to be on the same path as Petrick. In 2008, Iannetta looked like he was going to be a star. He hit 18 home runs and had a .895 OPS in 104 games.
Iannetta was supposed to take his game to the next level in 2009, but things didn’t work out that way. Iannetta slumped to a .228 average and his OPS dropped 91 points to .804.
The Rockies are probably wondering if the former Tar Heel is Petrick Part Two?
I don’t think he is. I think Iannetta will have a bounce back 2010 season–regardless if the Rockies bring back Yorvit Torreabla or bring in Miguel Olivo.
I really believe Iannetta will have a season more like his 2008 season than his 2009 season. If Iannetta hits the way he is capable of, the Rockies offense will go to the next level in 2010.
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