Originally written on Monkey with a Halo  |  Last updated 11/15/14

Ladies and gentlemen, Jeff Mathis' reign of terror is almost over.  Jerry Dipoto looks to have pulled off his first move as Angels GM by getting the team a new slugging catcher:

@Ken_Rosenthal Ken Rosenthal Source: #Rockies close to signing R. Hernandez to two-year deal, sending Iannetta to the Angels. Teams checking medicals. #MLB

So there it is.  Chris Iannetta is now the primary Angel catcher and Jeff Mathis should soon be getting his non-tender papers.  Hooray!  On that upgrade alone, this deal is a winner.

Ironically, Iannetta is a catcher with very good power who draws a lot of walks.  Remind you of someone?  Yeah, I know, the Napoli jokes are tired but they are unavoidable right now.  At least Dipoto had the foresight to remedy the problem that his predecessor created by dumping Napoli.  However, that doesn't mean Iannetta is the next Mike Napoli.  For starters, Iannetta has a career .235 average and has struggled with consistency.  More to the point though is that Iannetta has been less than impressive away from the thin air of Coors Field as exemplified by his Mathisian .587 road OPS last season.  That means there is a risk that he won't be the offensive savior some are already painting him to be.  Still, even in his worst season in which he hit .197, Iannetta still posted a .310 OBP and .383 SLG.  Meaning even when he sucks, he still gets on base and hits homers.  So there is some risk, but not too much.

What Iannetta doesn't have much of a risk of is falling into Scioscia's doghouse because of his defense the way Napoli did.  Iannetta may not inspire an over-the-top lovefest from Lyle Spencer with his defense, but Iannetta grades out as no worse than average behind the plate and possibly even pretty good.  His arm is mediocre, but he gets good marks for all the other stuff (blocking pitchers, framing, etc.).

Now for the somewhat controversial part of the deal, giving up Tyler Chatwood.  Opinions are already all over the place on him being traded for Iannetta (who appears to only be under team control for one year at about $3.6 million, though he has a team option for 2013 that may or may not void because of this trade).  Prior to the 2011 season, Chatwood was the Angels top pitching prospect, but then he got rushed to the majors and stunk the joint up, really killing his perceived potential.  Yes, he is very young and still possesses good stuff, but his performance has never been anything special aside from one season in Advanced-A ball.  As a result, some Angel fans are bemoaning his loss since he could be pretty good someday, but several outsider opinions are grading this trade as a steal for the Angels because they think Chatwood will never amount to anything.

Best case scenario for the Angels is that Iannetta flourishes in a new environment, as he had been under a lot of pressure in Colorado to live up to his potential so a change of scenery could really help, and Chatwood never amounts to anything.  Worst case scenario, Iannetta ends up not hitting in Anaheim and gets dumped after a year while Chatwood goes on to be a mid-rotation staple for the Rockies.

My money is this will be a lot closer to best case scenario for the Angels, though there is still one mitigating circumstance we haven't discussed yet: Hank Conger.  Does this mean the Angels are giving up on him?  It very well could.  Iannetta is good enough to catch 115+ games in a season, so Conger may not have a role in the majors this year.  That means they could send Hank packing or just send him back to Triple-A to work on his defense and then challenge Iannetta in 2013.  Or, since Iannetta mashes lefty but is more ordinary against righties, the switch-hitting Conger could platoon with Iannetta, though I find it hard to believe they gave up a prospect like Chatwood for a part-time player.  We won't know the answer to this part of the trade for awhile yet, but don't be at all surprised if Conger's name starts being prominently mentioned in trade rumors at the Winter Meetings.

In summary, this seems like a good deal for the Angels that will help them contend this season, but carries a small chance of making them look bad five years from now.  Sounds like a risk worth taking to me, especially if it finally puts to an end all the Mathis and/or Napoli jokes.

CORRECTION: I remember incorrectly about Iannetta's framing, he actually graded out poorly, so maybe his defense could become a bit of an issue for Scioscia.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga


Philly store offering Eagles 'jersey insurance'

Chris Paul listed as questionable for Game 1 vs. Rockets

Mayweather beats Pacquiao by unanimous decision

Did Evan Mathis respond to Chip Kelly's slight with barb?

WATCH: American Pharoah wins Kentucky Derby

Report: Rams trade RB Zac Stacy to Jets

Here's why Mayweather-Pacquiao was business as usual

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods have broken up

WATCH: Two games end with baserunners hit by batted balls

WATCH: Damian Lilliard delivers great graduation speech

Jets do not envision Bryce Petty starting in 2015

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

Jimmy Kimmel's Manny Pacquiao T-shirt goes viral

Big fight packs airport, leaves no room for planes

Pete Carroll discusses Russell Wilson's contract status

Jim Harbaugh not happy Lou Holtz is out at ESPN

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

Report: Steph Curry to be NBA MVP

Kelly: Tebow here to compete for job

Tony Allen booed for being rude?

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods break up

Pacquiao fought with injured shoulder?

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Report: Zac Stacy traded to Jets

Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Jerry Jones sends letter to Pacquiao

Mayweather bans Beadle, Nichols

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.