The Seattle Mariners shook up their catching situation by declining Chris Iannetta‘s 2017 contract option Thursday.

The team announced the decision on Twitter.

According to Spotrac, Seattle avoided paying the 33-year-old veteran $4.25 million next season by deciding against picking up his option.

Iannetta signed with the Mariners last offseason after four seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. He split time behind the plate with Mike Zunino, finishing the year with a .210 batting average, seven home runs and 24 RBI in 295 at-bats across 94 games.

The 2004 fourth-round pick is set to enter his 12th MLB season, and while he continues to earn playing time, his most productive years are behind him.

Iannetta enjoyed most of his success during a six-season run with the Colorado Rockies. He was especially strong in 2008, when he set career highs with a .264 batting average, a .390 on-base percentage, 18 home runs and 65 RBI.

The Rhode Island native’s numbers have fluctuated since then, and he has largely split time at catcher rather than taking a firm grip on the starting job.

Iannetta has produced 107 home runs throughout his career, while defense may be his biggest liability.

He’s saved minus-14 defensive runs above average throughout his career and registered a career-worst minus-10 mark in that category last season, according to

Iannetta did throw out a career-best 31 percent of attempted base stealers in 2016, but that is an unimpressive mark when compared to Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who led the big leagues by throwing out 48 percent of attempted base stealers last season.

Seattle is better off utilizing the 25-year-old Zunino in 2017 and beyond, and getting Iannetta out of the picture will make it easier to do so.

Despite his shortcomings, Iannetta’s power and experience—he’s appeared in nearly 1,000 MLB games—provide some value. Veteran catchers routinely find jobs at the major league level, which means Iannetta will likely end up on another roster prior to the start of the 2017 season.


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