UNC Baseball: Chris Iannetta announces retirement

A former UNC baseball standout has decided that it’s time to call it a career.

After playing 14 seasons in the Major Leagues, Chris Iannetta has decided to retire from the sport. Iannetta’s official announcement came on Saturday afternoon.

After playing college baseball at North Carolina, Iannetta was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft. The now 37-year-old spent more than half his career with the Rockies, but also gained big league experience with the Los Angeles Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners.

Over his 1,197 games played, the veteran catcher posted a slash line of .230/.345/.406. He hit 141 home runs, and drove in 502 runs over that span. Arguably, his best season came during the 2008 campaign when he hit 18 homers and drove in 65 runs over his 104 appearances.

This offseason, Iannetta was looking for a chance to compete for a big league roster spot. He signed a minor-league contract with the New York Yankees with hopes of earning the team’s backup catcher role.

During contract talks, Iannetta was very open with the Yankees organization. He told them that if they sent him to the minor leagues (now Alternate Site), that he would retire.

Iannetta made the team’s opening day roster, as teams were allowed to hold 30 players on the active roster. However, with the rosters trimming down to 28 players, and the return of some key contributors, tough roster decisions had to be made.

Unfortunately for Iannetta, the Yankees made the decision to option him to their taxi squad (which essentially is their minor league system this season) which brought on his retirement. The Yankees placed Iannetta on the restricted list, and shortly after it was reported that he was opting to retire.

Even though it didn’t end as he would have probably wanted it to, Iannetta had a very solid big league career. He became a valuable and dependable player at one of the toughest positions to play in the sport.

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