7:06pm: MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez hears that Iannetta hasn’t yet received a formal offer from the Mariners (Twitter link).
6:44pm: The Mariners are nearing a deal with free agent catcher Chris Iannetta, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter). Seattle has been linked to catching help, including Iannetta, throughout the week. Iannetta has a history with new Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, who acquired him in a trade with the Rockies while serving as GM of the Angels.
Iannetta, who turns 33 next April, struggled in 2015 and posted just a .188/.293/.335 batting line. However, a good deal of those struggles stemmed from an abnormally low .225 BABIP, and the veteran backstop maintained his characteristic strong eye at the plate, logging a 12.9 percent walk rate. Iannetta rebounded, to an extent, after a dismal month of April, posting a .315 OBP and .390 slugging percentage for the remainder of the season, though his average was still a meager .211 in that time. Historically, he’s been a much better hitter, as he entered the 2015 season as a career .236/.357/.414 hitter.
If a deal with Iannetta is reached, he’ll provide the Mariners with a veteran complement to Mike Zunino, who has struggled considerably at the Major League level despite his status as a former No. 3 draft pick and a much stronger Triple-A track record. Iannetta may not quite have Zunino’s defensive chops, but he caught 25 percent of base-stealers and rated as one of the game’s top pitch framers in 2015.