Mariners News: Both Aoki And Iannetta Are Gone For 2017

It took just one day for the Mariners lineup to dramatically change again. This time, the M’s saw their starting outfielder, Nori Aoki, and one of their backup catchers, Chris Iannetta, fly the coop. Both left for different reasons -Aoki was picked up off waivers by the Houston Astros and Iannetta’s extension was declined- nevertheless, the Mariners roster is changing daily.

Whether these moves surprise you or not, the fact is, the Mariners have now opened up two more sports on their forty-man roster for 2017.

Both men had one season to show GM, Jerry Dipoto that they were worth keeping, but neither was able to convince Dipoto with their play.

Aoki started out 2016 with dismal numbers. Most eye-popping about Aoki’s hitting figures through the first part of the year was his unusually low batting average. Aoki has hit around .280 by the time the all-star break comes around. But, this past year he hit a measly .245.

Other than that, he drove in a career-low eleven batters in the first half and hit his second-fewest home runs in a first half; just one, a lone shot against the Minnesota Twins in May.

Aoki was able to bounce back with a second half to remember. His batting average over the last three months was .319, and he hit three home runs, all of which came in September. That was the second most home runs he’s hit in the final full month of the season since his rookie campaign 2012.

He also hit twice as many doubles in the second half despite playing sixteen fewer games. Sixteen just so happens to be the number of doubles Aoki hit in fifty-one matches. That’s about a double every three games.

On the defensive side of the game, Aoki was unspectacular, to say the least. He had five outfield assists, which puts him in the somewhere in the middle of the pack. He also doesn’t have noticeably good range or leaping ability.

So in the end, regardless of how good his second half looked in some aspects, there wasn’t enough on the table for the Mariners to snag him up for 2017. Unfortunately, if he has a phenomenal year next season, the Mariners will have to see him shine with their division rivals, the Astros.

As for Iannetta, the reasoning behind not picking up his option is much more simple. He was flat out unproductive. Not just by his own standards, but by league standards as well.

Iannetta hit seven home runs in 2016. That was tied for his second-fewest hit when playing at least fifty games. Compared to every other catcher in the league that has played at least ninety-four games (Iannetta’s total) only two men hit fewer home runs.

When you take the three other men that had either seven home runs or fewer, you also find that each of them had more RBIs than Iannetta. He could only muster twenty-four runs batted in.

And we haven’t even begun talking about his .210 batting average. Sure, it doesn’t look so bad next to Mike Zunino’s .207 number, but the Mariners batting woes behind the plate are well known. The problem is, the rest of the  catchers in the league aren’t so terrible at the plate.

Of the twenty catchers that have played more games than Iannetta, only two have a worse batting average. Even when you lower the amount of games played to just thirty, sixteen other catchers batted worse this past year. One of them was Mike Zunino.

So at the end of November 3rd, we have now said goodbye to seven players in November. The two newest being Chris Iannetta and Nori Aoki. Now it’s time for Dipoto to find a great outfielder and catcher to replace the two of them.

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