The Pittsburgh Pirates had a busy day today as they made several moves, most notably addressing their intended first base platoon by signing left-handed hitting 1B/OF John Jaso to a two-year/$8million contract.
Jaso missed most of 2015 due to injury. He is a seven-year veteran having spent parts of his career with the Mariners, Rays and Athletics.
For his career, Jaso has a triple-slash line of .263/.361/.406. By far Jaso’s biggest tool is the ability to get on base, with an excellent career walk rate of 12.6 percent. Jaso has not shown the ability to be a consistent power threat, with a career high home run count of 10 in 2012. His career AB/HR (at bats per home run) rate is 42.9, a far cry from departed left-handed slugger Pedro Alvarez’s 16.61 rate in 2015.
Jaso does have some line drive capability, with three consecutive seasons (2012 through 2014) with a line drive percentage over 25 percent in each year. MLB Average during that span was 21 percent.
Jaso’s best year by far came in 2012 with Seattle. That year saw an .850 OPS backed by a very good .394 on-base percentage.
Jaso joins a crowded first base field that has Michael Morse and Jason Rogers already in tow. The move to acquire Jaso could be predicated on the team being close to another move, with Morse or Rogers possibly involved.
Jaso was announced as a first baseman, though he has played just two major-league games at the position.
Earlier today, the team announced that they had claimed right-handed reliever Yoervis Medina from waivers. Recently with the Cubs, Modina has several pitches with velocities that can touch the mid-90s. The acquisition of Medina continues a trend of the team focusing on low-risk/high-reward middle relievers with upside. Medina has a career 3.08 ERA backed by a 3.78 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching).
To make room for Medina, the Pirates needed to make a corresponding roster move as their 40-man roster was full. They did not have to make any hard choices, as the Los Angeles Angels claimed left-handed reliever Bobby LaFromboise off of waivers.
Another corresponding 40-man roster move will have to be made to accomodate for Jaso.