At the age of 37, Chris Iannetta has made the decision to retire, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Arguably the best catcher in the history of the Colorado Rockies, Iannetta was drafted by the Rox in the fourth round in 2004 out of the University of North Carolina. He made his major league debut in 2006 and remained with the club through 2011. After stints with the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, Iannetta returned to Colorado to finish out his big league career from 2018-19.
The Rockies cut ties with Iannetta in August of 2019, a season in which he batted .222/.311/.417, with a career-high 32.9% strikeout rate.
Iannetta signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees prior to the 2020 season and appeared set to make the Opening Day roster after having his contract selected to the 40-man roster when player pools were set. However, the Yankees designated him for assignment on August 1st.
According to Rosenthal, Iannetta was going to be included on the Yankees’ taxi squad, but he made it clear when he signed his deal that he would be retiring if he didn’t get a guaranteed spot on the major league roster.
In the latest edition of Ranking the Rockies, Renee Dechert wrote about the disappointing lack of fanfare with which the Rockies cut the veteran catcher (who played for the team in three of their five postseason appearances) in 2019.
Iannetta will be remembered for his keen eye at the plate. In 1,197 career games, he produced a batting line of .230/.345/.406, with a walk rate of 13.5%. His walk rate never dropped below 11% in any season of his career. He also caught more games than any other Rockies catcher, at 571.
He was also a member of the executive sub-committee for the MLB Players Association.
Along with former Angels teammate Vernon Wells, Iannetta created JACK Winery in 2012.
All of us at Purple Row send our best wishes to Chris Iannetta.