TODAY: Iannetta can earn up to $1.75MM in performance bonuses in the coming season, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets. The club picks up a 2017 option, at a $4.25MM price tag, which can also vest at $6MM under unspecified circumstances.
YESTERDAY, 6:28pm: The contract guarantees Iannetta $4.25MM and includes incentives, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter.
6:03pm: The deal includes some form of option for 2017, Iannetta indicated to reporters on a conference call to discuss the signing (via MLB.com’s Greg Johns, on Twitter).
A deal was said to be close during the GM Meetings, but it obviously took a bit longer to come together. Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto obviously continues to be a fan of the veteran, as he brought him to the Angels when he ran that club.
Iannetta is entering his age-33 season on the heels of a rough 2015 campaign. In his 317 plate appearances last year, Iannetta slashed just .188/.293/.335. He did, however, reach double-digit home runs for the fifth time in his career and maintained a strong 12.9% walk rate. Also, a .225 BABIP may go some way toward explaining the poor overall results.
Of course, there’s also quite a bit of history suggesting that Iannetta can bounce back offensively. He produced at or above the league-average rate for seven of the eight seasons before 2015 and owns a .231/.351/.405 lifetime slash line.
Notably, though he endured a rough campaign at the plate, Iannetta was better than ever behind it. After years of sub-par results, StatCorner rated him the fifth-best framer in baseball last year. And Baseball Prospectus credits him not only with a remarkable turnaround in framing, but also in overall defensive value.
If Iannetta can carry that forward, he and Mike Zunino could make up an outstanding defensive unit. It remains to be seen how the playing time will be allocated between the two, but Iannetta will certainly provide some cover to allow Seattle an opportunity to take some of burden off of the 24-year-old, who limped to a .174/.230/.300 batting line last year.
Hicks, 26, received his first big league call-up last year and recorded just two hits in a tiny sample of 34 plate appearances. Over parts of two seasons at the Triple-A level, the University of Virginia product has slashed .253/.295/.366 and hit eight home runs in 432 plate appearances.