Pirates Sign John Jaso to Two-Year Contract

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Wednesday evening that they have signed first baseman John Jaso to a two-year contract. The 32-year-old left-handed hitter spent 2015 with Tampa Bay, posting a .286/.380/.459 slash line in 70 games. He was announced as a 1B/OF, though he has only played five innings at first base in the majors, spending most of his time as a catcher. Terms of the deal have not yet been announced.

During his seven seasons in the majors, spent with Tampa, Seattle and Oakland, Jaso has a .263/.361/.406 slash line in 550 games. His best season came in 2012 when he posted an .850 OPS over 108 games, but the 2015 season wasn’t far behind. Since he was announced as a first baseman, you can expect that he will be the left side of a platoon over at first base, possibly getting time in the outfield and serving as an emergency catcher. Jaso was on the disabled list early in the 2015 season for a wrist injury and didn’t return until early July.

Ken Rosenthal announced that it’s a 2/$8M deal, which basically means the Pirates traded one year of Pedro Alvarez for two seasons of Jaso.

Neal Huntington had this to say about Jaso:

“John Jaso is a proven Major League hitter who is a great complement to our existing lineup. John is enthusiastic about playing in Pittsburgh and developing as a first baseman. We feel he has the ability to play the position at the major league level, while adding significantly to our offensive production.”

UPDATE 5:18 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…

First of all, credit to Eno Sarris at FanGraphs for calling this move about a week ago. Well, he didn’t exactly call it, but he did say that Jaso would be his choice to solve the first base situation in Pittsburgh. He also liked Juan Nicasio and Allen Webster before the Pirates added them, making me think Eno Sarris is secretly Neal Huntington in disguise. Anyway, for his analysis, pre-move, check out the link above.

There are two aspects to this deal: the offensive upside and the defensive uncertainty.

Taking a look at the offense first, there’s a lot to like about Jaso. In his career, he has a .342 wOBA and 120 wRC+. Compare that to the career numbers from Pedro Alvarez (.324/106) and it’s easy to see that two years and $8 M of Jaso is much better than one year and $8 M from Alvarez.

Defensively, Jaso has only played 20 innings in his career at first base. So he’s largely unproven. That said, it will be difficult to be worse than Pedro Alvarez was last year, and his time as a former catcher should help him, since the catcher-to-first base transition is more common and seems to be easier.

Jaso’s role will be a left-handed hitting member of the first base platoon. The Pirates have two interesting options from the right side in Michael Morse and Jason Rogers. Their career numbers:

Morse: .346 wOBA/119 wRC+

Rogers (179 PA):.345/115

That would be their overall numbers. Looking at the career numbers against left-handers only (which would be their role), we get the following:

Morse: .350/122

Rogers: .326/102

The interesting thing is that Rogers actually has reverse splits, although we go from a small sample to a much smaller sample when breaking this down. He’s been good against lefties in the minors, so he should be good in the platoon role.

The big appeal here is Jaso. Here is how he stacks up against right-handers, compared to other left-handed hitters, via Forbes to Federal:

If those numbers hold up, then the Pirates just got a steal on offense when it comes to hitters from the left side of the plate. He doesn’t have the power that Pedro Alvarez has, but in terms of overall offense, Jaso is much better. And I can’t see how the defense would be any worse than last year’s production.

At $4 M per year (assuming it’s divided equally), the Pirates are at about $95 M in payroll for the 2016 season. This move also won’t block Josh Bell in the future, but will give the Pirates a really strong left-handed bat off the bench who can serve as the emergency catcher, backup first base, and play some outfield.

UPDATE 7:13 PM: The Pirates have outrighted Jorge Rondon to Triple-A, per a team press release. I don’t know if this was the corresponding move, as Rondon would have been waived a few days before this. It does clear a space on the 40-man roster for Jaso, and keeps Rondon in the organization as bullpen depth.

  • i watched Christmas story 2, The first thing the father complains about is the White Sox signing another utility infielder. “The old man maintainedhis well-deserved status……as the White Sox’s number-one fan.Morons.Another utility infielder.What about a pitcher who canmake it to the second inning?I’m telling you, boys, if I owned that team,things would be a whole lot different.Yes, sirree, Bob.Utility infielder.”

  • Good

  • Jaso has virtually no power. I guess you could say gap power. I watched him all year in Tampa and he can certainly hit and get on base. We used him as a DH for a reason. He hits. Also has the ugliest hair in all sports. It looks like an old wig that has never been washed. He lowers his head and it sticks straight up. That was an embarrasment, but he is a good guy

  • The more I think about this signing the more I think the Pirates are going to work Rogers’ tail off in ST to see if he can be the early season replacement for Kang at 3B. If if works out really well, and Kang fully recovers from his injury then the highest offensive upside, against RHP at least would be to have Kang at SS pushing Mercer to the bench with Rogers at 3B. The likelihood of this working out is slim, but something to consider. It would result in an infield with the potential for a .275+ BA at every position.

  • Does this mean we aren’t getting Chris Davis?

  • I’m hacking into the USPS server to see if leefoo’s book can be delayed, a week.

  • Jaso seems like an ok platoon guy. Really like the walk/avg potential as long as he never has to bat against a lefty, but he is another guy with no power to add to a lineup with limited power. You can certainly put up runs with base hits, but there are times in a season where you face a good pitcher that you can’t string hits or walks together against and might only get that one big swing opportunity. And unfortunately bucs are gonna have to face a bunch of those guys. The royals had more power then people may believe they still hit a decent amount of hrs with a ton of extra baggers. I just don’t see a ton of hrs or extra base hits with this lineup right now and that is a bit concerning.

  • Like the signing; I guess this means the hitters are set and the bench will be:
    – Stewart
    – S-Rod
    – Florimon
    – The two of Rogers/Morse/Jaso who aren’t starting
    I would now consider the starting lineup as good although not great (too many questions around Mercer, Harrison, the RH-1B, and even Polanco). As for the bench, the first three are all glove no bat, and the others are below average anywhere but 1B.
    They might be done here which would be ok but personally I would still like a better option than Florimon at back up SS.

    • Florimon is not making the team. That’s what S-Rod is for. No matter how you like it, he’s playing 2B, 3B, OF & SS this year.

  • Wouldn’t these stats look nice:

    1. Polanco .280/.340/.410 30-10-15 (dubs-trips-HR) 35SB
    2. Jaso .280/.360/.420 20-0-12 0SB
    3. Cutch .300/.400/.500 40-5-25 15SB
    4. Marte .280/.340/.450 35-7-22 30SB
    5. Kang .280/.350/.450 25-2-18 5SB
    6. Cervelli .280/.350/.420 25-2-10 0SB
    7. J-Hay .280/.320/.400 32-5-12 15SB
    8. Mercer .250/.300/.380 25-3-10 5SB

    Morse .250/.320/.440 12-0-10 5SB
    Rogers .280/.330/.430 10-1-8 2SB
    Stewy .250/.320/.350 10-0-2 0SB
    SRod .240/.290/.350 6-2-6 5SB
    Florimon .200/.250/.250 5-3-1 15SB

    Cole 20-7 200K 1.05WHIP
    Liriano 16-9 185 1.20
    Niese 14-10 145 1.30
    Vogelsong 6-9 90 1.40
    Locke 10-10 90 1.35
    Tallion 7-5 90K 1.30
    Glasnow 5-3 65K 1.30

    LLOYD wants Latos and can see a 12-8 150K 1.30

    PEN of:

    1. SHARK
    2. Watson
    3. Nicasio
    4. Hughes
    5. Caminero
    6. Medina
    7. Lefty

    LLOYD likey, LLOYD likey…………

    LLOYD

    ps……….Fooooooooooooooo

  • I like Jaso’s bat, but not sure I understand this part of it. They replaced one guy who couldnt play first base with another guy who doesnt play first base.

    • They replaced one guy who should never put on a glove with a guy who hasn’t played much first base.

      • This is the movie Moneyball all over again when Billy Beane turned the catcher into a 1st basemen that can get on base. Awesome stuff for a sequel!

  • I’ll take Latos, Bastardo and Blanton and go to the post with team as of today adding those 3.

    • Agree Sir Heffy, Agree!!!!
      And LLOYD thinks you are probably right about Florimon but hopes for an upgrade there as well.

      LLOYD

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 23, 2015 9:45 pm

    “He doesn’t have the power that Pedro Alvarez has, but in terms of overall offense, Jaso is much better.”
    I guess I would like to know how you reach this conclusion, based on the career stats of Jaso and Alvarez. Power wise, huge drop-off from Alvarez to Jaso. I do agree Jaso will not strike out as much and may hit for a higher average (if Jaso is limited to just a platoon and RH pitching), but his career stats do not show a lot of run production. I guess time will tell how this works out…
    The reason I am not overly excited about a Rogers/Jaso platoon has little to do with their hitting however, its whether they represent a significant improvement over Alvarez defensively. Based on their history, I don’t get a sense that they are or will. I don’t think the need was to just match or be a slight upgrade over Alvarez defensively, but that we needed a significant improvement – as infield defense, more than any other factor, probably cost the Pirates the division last year.

  • I like this pickup and I’m ready to go after the Cards/Cubs but more importantly the Brewers and the Reds!

  • Prospect guide arrived today. Heading out tomorrow for a magnifying glass to read it.

  • Still need pitching, both starters and relievers. Can’t go into the season in this division with Niese,Locke and Vogelsong as our 3,4,and 5 starters. Can’t happen

    • Two more starters for sure…one of which can’t be a rebuild.

    • I don’t know. Could be worse. Almost everyone complains about their team’s back of the rotation. I’d rather go with this to start the season than force something that isn’t really worth it. These guys all have been pretty good for half a season at a time. If 2 of them can do that this year, we’d probably be in pretty good shape while we wait for the prospects to start showing up or for a better opportunity to present itself. Patience is more likely to be rewarded than panic.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        December 23, 2015 9:50 pm

        Saying it could be worse, is not a soothing answer – we need to get better in the rotation to keep up with the many strong rotations throughout the NL.

        • I’d like it to be better. I disagree that it needs to be better to compete. The question is, where’s the upgrade? I don’t think it was Leake and I don’t think it’s Kazmir. I’d rather see them throw a couple more wild cards against the wall and see what sticks.

        • I agree with BFSiMD. The rotation as-is is only competitive with a lot of good fortune. I’d like the Necessary Good Fortune Quotient to be a little lower.

  • Solid day for our beloved Buccos. LLOYD thinks that all that is needed now is Latos, a lefty reliever and a backup SS (preferably a lefty hitter). If Morse is traded, a 4th OF will be added as well.
    YES!!!!!!!!!!!

    LLOYD

  • I like this move. Can’t ignore the career .361 On base percentage. That would put him among the best in that category in any season. Also a career .767 OPS . I cannot complain. I wanted more on base presence in the lineup. I’m just wondering where the power will come from. Not that Jaso no power. Polanco and Marte should hit for more power every year, plus I trust Morse to bounce back somewhat. Marte should a 25 HR a year player . I’d rather have Marte 1st or 2nd because of his speed but I think he needs to be 4 or 5 until they find someone to lock that spot down
    Harrison 2B
    Polanco RF
    Cutch CF
    Marte LF
    Kang 3B
    Jaso/Morse 1B
    Cervelli C
    Mercer SS

  • Essentially he’s replaced NW offense.

    • For less than half the price.

    • First…. he is a DH< without a position beyond back-up catcher or 4th OF'er.
      Second, he is projected for 0.5 WAR, Walker 2.5

      He HAS replaced Snider however

      • The WAR projection is misleading. Walker is projected for twice the PA and he gets a bump in WAR from the 2B positional adjustment. If you just want to look at apples to apples on offense, look at their projected wRC+ which is basically identical. Walker 112, Jaso 111.

  • The Pirates read Fangraphs, not sure about “eye tests” posted on the internet.

  • Travis Sawchik gets his wish!

  • PiratesFan1975
    December 23, 2015 7:50 pm

    I was just looking at some of his career splits. Even though he’s had more ABs in the #1 spot he’s killer with men on base. His walks go up, strike outs down, and wOBA and wRC+ both shoot up with men on.

    Career Stats
    BB% 12.6 K% 14.6 wOBA .342 wRC+ 120
    Men on Base
    BB% 13.7 K% 12.9 wOBA .375 wRC+ 143
    Scoring Position
    BB% 14.9 K% 13.3 wOBA .367 wRC+ 137

  • Another thing I like is the extra catcher part.
    This frees Stewart/Cervelli to be a PH on their
    off days.

    • Walker was the emergency catcher, but this isn’t enough to make this a great move.

      • I don’t see anyone calling it a great move. But relative to other moves NH has made in the past few weeks, it’s at least “sensible”.

      • Actually Hurdle mentioned a couple times last year when they went to extras that Josh Harrison was the emergency catcher.

      • Ok, I don’t know enough about this new player
        to consider this even a good move. Time will tell.

  • anyone who thinks this is a great move has had their kool-Aid spiked.

    • Why?

      • It’s the kind of move someone gets excited about when they have low expectations, and have a blind faith in the front office that they have some clairvoyant knowledge.. Even if the splits turn out as expected 2 average players don’t make for one great player. Teams can take advantage of the match-ups. You also loose the extra position. They admitted in the past having a platoon at 1st is not the ideal situation. People are giddy like we just got Paul Goldshmidt. Either go with Morris or upgrade the position. Going with a complementary player is just a band-aid.

  • no power. The Pirates had trouble scoring. At one point they were one of the top teams at leaving runners in scoring position.

    • Finished as one of the best teams in baseball with RISP.

      • Actually not. They were the 3rd worst team in MLB at leaving RISP. They averaged 3.67. https://www.teamrankings.com/mlb/stat/runners-left-in-scoring-position-per-game

        • PGH finished 2015 with the 8th highest AVG while hitting with RISP and a wRC+ that placed 4th in baseball.

          So your stat is essentially saying they had a large number of chances with RISP, that led to a high number of men not scoring. That seems poor, until you then take a look at their stats of success and realize they capitalized a ton with RISP. A top 5 team with RISP by wRC+, OBP. Top 10 in wOBA.

          Top 5 in opportunities with RISP, top 5 in key offensive stats.

          • They were the worst team at leaving runners on base. https://www.teamrankings.com/mlb/stat/team-left-on-base-per-game
            My case was that OBP doesn’t really help the Pirates. They still squandered more opportunities even though they had more opportunities to squander.

          • To put it all together they had one of the better team batting Avg with Risp, but they ranked 19 in scoring. So they really didn’t capitalize at the the rate other teams did. That’s why being one of the worst at leaving RISP becomes relevant. They were also 6th in K’s with RISP. They had the 4th most sacrifice flies. It still goes back to they let opportunities get away. The Pitching saved them many times. A little bit more would have made a big difference.

            • Ignoring wRC+ really makes this a pretty flawed way to look at this. So they, statistically, saw some of the best overall offensive numbers and yet since we can see they also left a good deal on base they must suck.

              Yes, they left men on. Thats inherently going to happen when you are top 3 in chances with RISP. They also, as wRC+ points out, were a top offense when hitting with RISP. Meaning they werent just walking and not getting runs in, but overall hitting better than most teams in that scenario.

              They got a ton of chances with RISP (a positive trait), they stranded many, they hit well, and scored enough. One area that wasnt a giant weakness was RISP, unless we’d prefer fewer chances with RISP and thus less men left on. Thats likely a wash in total runs, and would be silly. If we hit as we did with RISP next year as last year, the team will be fine.

              They managed to get a ton of guys in scoring position, and then hit overall well enough in those spots to throw out nearly league best numbers in wRC+. Not an end all stat, but a key indicator of overall offensive performance beyond runs scored (since runs scored here could easily favor a team who had 400 less chances with RISP and thus left less men on as a counting number).

              • It happened to them at a higher rate though. This is also backed up on other Pirate sites where they evaluated this. They won 98 games so they did something right. Going back to 2014 a player like Ike Davis had a very good OBP with risp, if that was looked on as a good stat Pirates would have kept him.

    • you realize why it’s called “scoring position”, right?

      (hint: because you only need a single to get them home)

      • Yes I understood that. McCutchen himself had one of the best batting averages with runners in “scoring position”. When you start off with a single or walk someone has to get you into scoring position or you have to steel 2nd. If you take 2 teams with the same OBP the team that hit more HR’s and Doubles would score more runs though.

      • They were the 3rd worst team in MLB at leaving RISP. They averaged 3.67. https://www.teamrankings.com/mlb/stat/runners-left-in-scoring-position-per-game. HR’s and Doubles clear more runners off the bases so they don’t end up as left in scoring position.

  • The other shoe has dropped and it’s a club foot…

  • This is exactly what the Pirates need. Someone who provides quality at bats and gets on base. Our offense if not home run totals just got better than last year . Our bench is far stronger now at this time.

    • La ~ We generally had a horrible time with timely hitting last year. It seemed that only Chris Stewart could hit a freakin’ single, when that’s all we needed.

  • Wow, Rondon already cleared waivers as the corresponding 40 man roster move. Deal was in the works for a few days it would appear.

  • Great day for the Bucs today!

    Medina! A RP who was good in 2012/13 and then got a quick demotion to AAA based on a small sample size. Remind you of anybody who might have led his league in saves last year?

    Jaso! A quality platoon bat, likely with feet quick enough to be adequate at 1B. (Catchers generally have quick feet although not necessarily foot speed.)

    And money left over for Latos, who we can all pray will be less of a jerk here than he has been in the past. In fact, with all this behind us, there might be a way to squeeze Kazmir into the budget. Give him the 4 year deal, then trade him once two of Taillon / Glasnow / Kingham have established themselves and let some other poor suckers take the 4th year risk.

    Patience is a wonderful thing!

  • Dave Magadan once put up a 5.2 WAR season once he got regular playing time. Not dissimilar to Josh Harrison, but Magadan had even less power. And Matt Carpenter suddenly became a power threat at age 30, raising his ISO >80 pts over his career average. Not saying Jaso will be any of the above, but there are examples out there of a guy with his skills becoming a very useful contributor.

    If nothing else, it’s the first move NH has made this offseason where I didn’t react with “WTF?”

    • Remember when all eyes rolled at the signing of Cervelli? Or Liriano? Or AJ, both times? Or Volquez?

      Most eyes have been rolling this winter. I’ve kept my gaze looking straight ahead 🙂

  • Gotta wonder…and I’m no expert…due to the nature of catching…the switch to 1B shouldn’t be overly difficult.

    I like this pickup a lot. Now, what to do with Goebbert and either Rogers or Morse.

    • Seems like someone will be out to me. Goebbert was signed to a ML deal and to keep them all on the 25 man doesn’t make much sense.

  • He’s not my “ideal”, but he rolls back the clouds. I think they have better 1b (combined) than last year (no more solo hr’s, no more cringing when in the field). Now for ss; more consistency (both hitting & fielding).

  • So NOW the big question: Who goes off of the 40 man. Guido or Tony or ????

  • Btw, Tim, NO PIRATE PROSPECT book today. Mrs Foo swears she didn’t hide it. You have ONE more day to get it to me. You BETTER have Drone capability!!

  • Pirates hit 140 HRs last year. As PRESENTLY constructed, how many do you think we hit THIS year?

    a) 130.

    My vote is D.

    • C. Gregory Polanco Williams with 26, team lead.

    • Mine is E

    • C prob if things go bad b

    • They traded away 30% of that

    • My answer is, it really doesn’t matter. How many of those dingers did Pete hit with guys on base?

      OPS will be up, BA will be up, homers will be down.

      • Any time you take 50+ HRs off a team it’s a big deal.

        • Depends on the makeup of a team. Runs saved count the same as runs scored, so if they lose 50 HRs but gain 15 runs saved on defense you then have a far less steep hill to climb in terms of replacing that lost production.

          They’ll assuredly have less power, but not necessarily a worse situation. Hate to lose the power, love to upgrade from 2 of the worst defenders are their respective positions. Which surely will lead to everyone now saying how Walker was fine at 2B and Harrison having more errors=worse overall.

          • Yes, if they had last year’s pitching. Ryan Vogelsong pulls his usual giving up a touchdown in the 1st, you’re going to wish they had more XBH/HR ability.

            • Vogelsong = Morton

            • No you miss my point. We can have a lesser #3 and not be a worse overall team. Yes, we cant have someone totally suck, but with our improvements on defense we save runs almost for sure. Meaning if we have an average #3, we lose production from there but gain some from defense.

              I dont think we need AJ level dominance to be as good. Not in the win column but for talent level….because i think winning 98 would be tough with the exact same team.

          • I think Huntiington really believes that Kang and Polanco will take strides in the power department this year to help alleviate the loss of Alavarez and Walkers’ home runs.

        • Except that they didn’t. Alvarez and Walker combined for 43. Jaso hit 5 in a half season. Rogers hit another 4 in a quarter of a season.

    • 98

    • You should do the same thing w runs scored since that’s the stat that truly matters.

    • I vote E. Mercer only hit 2 last year, he’s good for 10. Kang should improve to 20. Polanco to 15. Three headed 1B monster at least 20. That seems like very little drop off to me

  • I like this move very much. They’re clearly going the getting on base route over the power route, and I like that.

  • Soooooooooooooo….instead of paying Walker and moving him to 1b, we trade him for a #3/#4 starter and sign Jaso to platoon with Rogers or Morse and save about $5 million dollars?

    Works for me.

    Huntington is BRILLIANT! (where’s that Guiness?)

  • I like it. I hope he can learn 1B. I’m happy we have him for two years where he can transition into a bench bat, so that they don’t need to rush Bell if there is a setback.

    In Neal I trust. #LetsGoBucs

  • This I am OK with. It makes me like the Rogers’ trade less…but could we PLEASE go get a legitimate 3rd starting option now???

  • I think this move could be viewed potentially as better than the Zobrist signing by end of 2016.

  • Love this move! Dude has excellent plate discipline and seems to have a flair for the dramatics. Hopefully, we can now focus our attention to signing a #3 starter and have Vogelsong and Locke battle it out for the 5th starter.

  • I’m fully aware my understanding of moves means nothing, but I like this deal because it has direction.

  • Nice. It almost makes you think that they signed Goebbert as a depth move back in November and it wasn’t just a way to save Nutting money.

  • I like this move- 3 reasonable options which allow us not to force Bell to the majors until he’s ready and allow us to send him down if he struggles. Now back to that #3 starting spot in the rotation. Go sign Latos already…..

  • I’d imagine this spells the end of Tony Sanchez in the pirates system

  • With Rogers on board..wonder if Morse and his salary out the door somewhere.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      December 23, 2015 5:41 pm

      who will take him and his salary number?

      • Nah, depth seems to be a big thing with GMNH this offseason. I think the Pirates have every intention on giving Hanson and Bell jobs as soon as they feel they’re ready.

        • …anything is possible. Personally, I doubt they care- they will play veterans until they fail or get hurt. Always have, always will.

          • They play vets in lieu of middling type prospects, but they’ve never really been shy about playing the high upside prospects.

            Bell is going to be handed 1B by all accounts of history and how they are filling 1B currently. Hanson seems to have pushed himself into a bench role thanks to a lack of hitting for awhile.

      • I don’t see them moving Morse- they still need his power potential

  • This is the time of year where I parse splits from two marginal players and convince myself the Pirate will finally get something, anything, out of first base.

    It’s worked soooo well in the past you’d think I’d learn my lesson. Nope.

    • That starting OF needs to come up with 25 HRs a piece. Cause it’s not coming from anywhere else.

      • Jaso’s only projected to hit as well as Alvarez, too, now that I look at it. Maybe ZIPS will disagree.

        • I like it when a pitcher switches leagues. Seems they benefit from the lack of familiarity. Hitters, the exact opposite. They have to learn guys and how certain clubs pitch.

          Never been big on how the Pirates instruct hitting. We’ll see.

      • It’s not coming from their either. Cutch won’t even hit 25- you might end up with 60 total, that’s probably it for 2016 unless you count the homers from the reserves

        • Shhhh, Dont let Tim “El Coffee” Williams hear that.

        • C – 10
          3rd – 20
          SS – 10
          2nd – 10
          1st – 20
          LF – 16
          CF – 22
          RF – 18
          Total = 126

          • 60 total from outfield Piraddict- you were missing theme of the conversation. your numbers absolutely agree with me.

            • Ah!

              • Here’s my worthless projections:

                Starting players:
                C- 8
                1B- 15 (morse/Jaso)
                2B-8 (Harrison)
                SS- 8 (Mercer)
                3B-22 (Kang)
                CF- 23 (cutch)
                LF-20 (Marte)
                RF-11 (Polanco)

                Reserves: Rogers, Rodriguez, Stewart, Florimon, Hanson, Bell, others) – 15

                Total=130

      • Pirates will get 20 more homers out of Mercer, Harrison, Kang and Polanco and 20 total out of 1B. That should put them close to the HR loss of Pedro and Walker with better ops and more runs saved on defense.

  • Any word on who was cut to make room on the 40 man?

  • They needed a LH bat that wasn’t an automatic out. I’m fine with it, but the fielding should be interesting.

  • The A’s had him, and decided to sign IKE DAVIS last year, rather than try Jaso at first.

    I have NO idea why people see him at first.

    • You mayyyyy wanna mention the little part where the A’s acquired some guy named Zobrist in exchange for a package led by Jaso…

    • they see him at first because that is where we are going to put him. If he fails, you are looking at our 4th outfielder.

  • We still need a reliable lefty in the pen. They should be able to afford Bastardo and Latos with these budget moves.

  • THIS is the kind of upside move I’ve been wanting to see. Little risk, big reward.

    Kinda blows the who plus defenders all around the infield thing, but they needed offense, and Jaso will bring it.

    • I kind of like that he can catch if need be too. Not that I want him getting regular reps, but it’s nice to know we have a legitimate catcher if we get into a long game with Cervellis injury prone ness…

      • You know, I didn’t think of that angle but *as an emergency catcher* I agree.

        All the more reason to break in Diaz at some point this year in preparation for 2017.

    • Two years is nice because you have your stopgap for Bell and if everything pans out you could have a nice trade chip next offseason…or you have a great 4th OF/1B type and an excellent emergency catcher on your roster.

    • At least if you are going to have one risky defender, they minimized the impact having it be the short side of the 1B platoon.

      • …and he gets on base almost more often than Pedro.

      • I hear you man, but we said the same thing this time last year…

        • Actually last year was “Pedro wont be awful at 1B”.

          It was the big side of any platoon that made 1B a clusterf#$%

          • Huh? What are you talking about? This is the same side of the platoon.

            • John Jaso isnt likely to play 75% of the at bats at 1B. He wont be near as big a platoon as Pedro was.

              Which is mostly due to non of our options being great against LHP. Jaso and Morse are both likely to see time at 1B with both better suited against RHP than LHP.

              Last year, our best option at 1B was a guy we assumed wouldnt be the worst 1Bmen in the league. Jaso can be bad and we arent stuck with him eating the majority of at bats.

              • So what you meant to say was, we have options at first if Jaso doesn’t work out. I agree.

                It has nothing to do with the “short” side of the platoon.

                • I never intended platoon to be RHP vs LHP. I said what i meant, just didnt realize i should have clarified platoon.

                  I dont think we have a player at 1B that will clearly get 75% of the at bats, thus it’ll be time share/platoon of playing time even though none of the options hit LHP very well. Thus its still a platoon and still potentially a short side of a platoon. Sure seems like the move was made to supplement 1B, not be a majority holder of playing time.

                  • The short side of a platoon is the side vs. LHP. That is because 2 of every 3 SP in the MLB are RH. The Pirates led the league last year in ABs vs. RHP.

                    Unless he fails defensively, Jaso will have at least 500PAs next year. Book it.

                    • ….or unless he gets hurt. He DOES have a history of that. So it’s good that we have the depth, but I don’t see Jaso sitting vs. RHP for the other candidates with so many RH bats in our lineup next year.

                    • OH. “Short” side…

                      okay…

                      Heh-heh. I was totally joking up there… heh-hem-ha-boy.

                      -BB

                • I thought these guys were all pretty tall…. Over 6′. Who you callin’ short?

                  -BB

    • Wow coming from you this makes me happy! I’m glad you like it.

    • NMR – If you look at the small edge the Cards had on us at the end of the year, you might figure that small edges right now are going to be the difference again.

      Given that we’re dealing in incremental small differences that add up, I’d say if we had Jaso last year – the defense and offense both improved a bit and that might have pushed us past the Cards. Now if we can find a 2b whose defensive range is better and bat is comparable (JHay / Hansen)… It’s gonna be a hellofarace this year.
      ———————————–
      “Rock a-bye-baby in the hot oven!”
      -Wabbit

  • I cannot get too excited about this move. I like his on-base skills but he lacks power. I also wonder if he will be any better than Pedro with the glove.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      December 23, 2015 5:11 pm

      If he’s not, this was a mistake…

    • I have a better glove than Pedro

    • He’s averaging 58 xbh per 600 AB the last 3 years. That’s pretty solid. Similar to Neil Walker really. He can really get on base. I love that against righties he can hit out of the 2 hole or even the 3 spot…They have needed an on base guy to cause Cutch to get a few more opportunities for awhile…pretty much always. They might bat him 5 or 6 or something but I like him at the top of the order more.

      • He’s batted leadoff more than anywhere else in his career but from the 2 hole the second most.

        • He should hit 3 then because I believe the bucs should always have polanco and marte 1 and 2. Have cutch cleanup.

          • 1. J-Hay
            2. Polanco
            3. Cutch
            4. Kang
            5. Marte
            6. Cervelli
            7. Jaso
            8. Mercer

            • 1. Jaso
              2. Cervelli
              3. Cutch
              4. Kang
              5. Marte
              6. Polanco
              7. Harrison
              8. Mercer
              To start the year. Rationale: get the high OBP guys at the top of the order ahead of what power you have. Develop Polanco’s power stroke.

            • 1. Polanco
              2. Marte
              3. Jaso
              4. Cutch
              5. Harrison
              6. Cervelli
              7. Hanson or S-Rod
              8. Mercer

              When Kang gets back I’d put him in 5 hole

              • Judging by CH’s history of batting orders, Cutch is his guy for batting 3rd. As long as Cutch is a Bucco and CH is the manager, Cutch is going to bat 3rd. I think Kang and Marte are 4 and 5 in some order. Marte seems to hit better as a run producer.

          • Nah, hit cutch 2nd

          • Not a chance

      • You can’t put him ahead of Polanco and Harrison….and they won’t move Cutch to #4 (even though they should) Probably have cutch at 3 and kang at 4, marte at 5 and jaso at 6 with cervelli and mercer rounding it up

        • Absolute waste of a good OBP guy placing him in front of Mercer and the pitcher.

        • I would bat Harrison 6 or 7 because he swings at everything and is a gap hitter and will have a lot of speed hitting in front of him. I don’t consider Harrison an ideal top of order player.

          • I like having a double ahead of Cutch and Marte myself…..if you want him at second base with Mercer and the pitcher coming up, you get a lot of wasted doubles. Harrison is aggressive on the base paths as well and I like that higher in the order. There really isn’t a wrong or right here, just personal preference. In my opinion, the lineup has been messed up for years because of our unrelenting use of Cutch in the 3 hole. Moving cutch down really opens up the order to maximize efficiency.

            • Jaso is a doubles machine though.

              • so is harrison. Jaso clogs up the bases, I don’t want him or anyone else slow (cervelli for example) hitting ahead of Marte and Cutch

            • Maybe Harrison against lefties in two hole and Jaso vs righties…I think there will be some experimentation too. With a high OBP, and excellent bb:k ratio luckily Jaso can hit anywhere.

    • Noone in recent MLB history has been worse than Pedro at first base so pay attention to what you are saying….

      • … and how many innings has Jaso logged at first base? Maybe you (Y2JGQ2) need to pay attention or stop being critical of simple comments. I was not advocating for keeping Pedro, but rather questioning Jaso’s defense and the need for additional power in the lineup.

        • Aram played better at nearly 40 with no experience at first. Again, pay attention.

          • Y2JGQ2 you need to learn how to talk to people. I know it’s a blog but you can at least respond to comments without some condescending, know-it-all attitude. Everyone knows Pedro was historically bad with the glove (you’re no genius by making that statement), but even he logged more innings than Jaso and never showed improvement. It’s a legit concern as is his history of concussions. There is risk with this signing.

            • Listen- we all get made fun of from time to time- I’m not immune to it either. I know how to talk to people, but people who post blogs need to at least pay attention to what they are saying it if they don’t want people like bucco in md, leowalter, luke, nmr, or myself calling them out. It is just how it is. If you look at your original statement, I was simply responding to how silly it was. I’m responding to what you said, not what you meant. Go back and look at what you said at the beginning of the war you are choosing to start with me, and you will see that my response is completely valid. I’m sorry that you don’t like it, it isn’t like I personally attacked you or anything- i simply said “pay attention” so really…..get over it. You will learn just as fast, if you make a good point, and someone gives you a hard time about it- I will have your back, every time.

            • I made no statement regarding the risk of this signing- my statement in retort to your statement was specifically that the chances of Jaso being equally as bad or worse as Pedro at first defensively are as close to zero as you can possibly get. That is all.

        • Noone should wonder whether or not Jaso will be better than Pedro at first, it’s a silly question which shows how little you know about how bad Pedro’s season at first base truly was. The real question is- will Jaso be better than Pedro at defense by a large enough margin to provide value taking into account the removal of power from the lineup. If you look at OPS, Jaso shouldn’t be a downgrade a offense, and defense with anyone with a heartbeat an arm and a glove- will be better at first base….

    • HR’s are vastly overrated. Especially the solo variety which have no bearing on a games outcome. Which describes the majority of Pedro’s HR’s.

      • In what world does scoring a run have “no bearing on a games outcome”?!

        I hit the eggnog a bit last night, too, but sheesh! 😉

        • I think this discussion reflects how pitchers pitch to Pedro. With nobody on base, you can be more aggressive. With someone on base you go to “the spot” where Pedro always swings and misses.

          Just that Pedro probably got pitched differently with men on base.

          -Wabbit

  • What an offseason!!!
    Five innings as a first baseman.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      December 23, 2015 5:10 pm

      Makes you wonder if he is going to be a DR Strangeglove at first base…if he does turn out to be that, this was an ill advised signing. We HAVE to improve the infield defense…the margin of error in the division is not large.

      • At only $4m AAV he won’t kill them as a bench bat if he tanks in the field this year and can be flipped to the AL as a DH at the deadline.

        Teams must be scared off because of the concussion issues, because this really isn’t any money to speak of for proven offense.

        • I am thinking the exact same on him NMR. He’s a classic moneyball/undervalued guy. I almost like him at that money as an occasional backup and pinch hitter even.

        • Jaso is the bat that “replaces” Walker. Similar career OPS, though Jaso has a higher OBP and lower SLG than Walker. More of a top of the order bat against RHP. Which is great actually. As odd as it seems for a 1B and catcher I’d bat Jaso at leadoff and Cervelli in the 2 hole strictly based on OBP ahead of Cutch, Kang and Marte. Polanco at 6, Harrison at 7, Mercer at 8. Focus on Polanco developing a power swing, not so much concerned with getting on base like a top of the order guy.

      • He can’t be as near a bad thrower as the bull ……everytime he wound up to throw I cringed!! you never knew where the ball was going to end up.

      • The IF defense is guaranteed to be better w Pedro gone.

    • beat out by Ike last year!

    • He is going way down the defensive spectrum. Maybe Alvarez, is coloring our perceptions but 1B isn’t a difficult position to play.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 23, 2015 5:08 pm

    Not a bad signing – Jaso has possibilities, if he can play first base and not be a detriment to the team there, like Pedro Alvarez was. So, it looks like a Rogers/Jaso platoon at first base, until Bell or someone else proves to be ready and a better option. Once Bell gets past June 1, or whatever the magical date is with SuperTwo status, if he is hitting the cover off the ball and playing reasonably well at first base, then what? Do we move Jaso to the outfield, to open up a spot for bell at first base in a platoon with Rogers?
    I wish they hadn’t brought back Rodriguez – he cannot hit, and is only average at most positions he plays. I think the team needs an injection of speed and someone who can take Polanco out of the leadoff spot – someone like Hanson…

    • Unless Jaso absolutely sucks in the field and Josh Bell improves light years, Jaso is still clearly the better player on June 1.

      Nobody should expect Josh Bell to hit like Jaso in 2016.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        December 23, 2015 5:45 pm

        I hope you are wrong, because that is not an overwhelmingly positive assessment of Bell, since Jaso is hardly a great hitter – in fact, he may not even be considered a good hitter (.263 career average)…if Bell is a top prospect, is it beyond question that he couldn’t surpass what Jaso can bring to the table?

        • Hitting and batting average arent the same thing.

        • You seem to be ignoring the fact that Jaso has a career OBP of .361. That’s pretty darn good. His career BB/K rate is 0.86. He gets on base. This feels like Billy Beane/Scott Hatteberg Moneyball. I could see Bell hitting for a higher average but potentially have a lower OBP.

        • Jaso’s OPS is over .800- noone in their right mind expects that out of any rookie their first year, even though occasionally it happens.

        • Not a great hitter, just a top 15 hitter against right handed pitching the last 4 years.

        • As Tim pointed out, OPS of .841 vs RHP over past four years. No way Bell does that in 2016,

        • Isn’t that Jason Heywards career average abouts

          • Heyward had 13 hr and 60 rbi’s last year. How do you get paid that kind of money for those stats. Defense, yes, but the ball has to be hit in your direction to make an impact. He does have his most porductive years ahead of him and i think that why he got the money.

      • Certainly gives them a likely option to be as patient as necessary w Bell.

    • Rogers has options doesn’t he? so if he doesn’t beat out Morse, I’d expect Morse to be that side of the equation, with Rogers being a bench bat or spending some time in AAA

    • I think Morse is still the platoon partner

    • I like Jaso’s OBP and contact rate. He may not hit a lot of HR’S, but you can’t get on base if you don’t hit the ball. Rodriguez does his job. Play him anywhere with pretty good D and occasional key hits. I also like his right hook.

  • Slowly but surely, things are looking up…a lot more depth than there was this time a month ago.

  • I guess that they are confident that he can play 1B. His career numbers against RHP .274 BA vs. .178 against lefties. But in 2015, he was actually better against LHP in terms of BA but all his power seems to be against RHP.
    Anyway, decent signing. A bit underwhelming. However, if Bell was up and playing well this could be an important depth move.

    • To me this sort of takes pressure off the 1B situation. They have what appears to be a credible platoon now, so Bell can develop at AAA. If he’s ready by June 1, great. If he needs more at bats and/or 1B innings, no worries. NH has said that he messed up with Pedro. Not gonna happen with Bell.

  • David Todd keeps mentioning Will SuperTwo be grandfathered in after 2016? Can someone explain that to me? Is he talking about potential SuperTwos and how its handled after CBA expires?

    • Rumor I’ve seen is eliminating the Super Two for the next CBA.

      • So would that just effectively give every big league team 7 years of control over every player? Or would maybe the arb clock be set to like, 3.5 years?

  • Can his defense play at 1st base? Not much track record. Time will tell if he is defensive upgrade.

    • That is the big question Jeff…but he can definitely hit. Hopefully they got the next Scott Hatteberg. Only 18 games played at 1B over the years and 2 games started. At least we know it’s not a completely cold transition.

    • In all honesty, a monkey would be a defensive upgrade over Pedro.

    • There are very few mlb players in the history of the game who wouldn’t be a defensive upgrade from Pedro. I’m confident he’ll be average or slightly below average which equals a big upgrade

    • Transitioning from catcher, I think he’ll do okay.

  • Excellent.

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