Yesterday, we were discussing the Pittsburgh Pirates’ quiet offseason, and whether they were even going to try and press their case in 2016, rather than merely trying to continue their stretch of competitiveness on the basis of the in-place core.
I wouldn’t say that today’s move pushes in either direction on that question, but the Pirates did do a thing:
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) December 23, 2015
Jaso was long a sabermetric darling at the plate while he performed mediocrely behind it. The 32-year-old lefty batter is consistently good with the bat, hitting .263/.361/.406 for his career (120 wRC+) and .286/.380/.459 (136 wRC+) last year. The rub, of course, is that folks don’t think he can catch anymore – he didn’t at all last year – and he’s relatively untested at other positions. The league seems to have thought for a few years that Jaso was a DH and only a DH. The Pirates will test that theory, presumably in a platoon at first base.
That’s how Jaso’s been able to be so successful at the plate, by the way – for his career, lefties have handled him well while he’s feasted on righties.
Given Michael Morse’s presence at first, the Pirates may have just netted themselves a very economical platoon. Terms on the deal aren’t out yet.
UPDATE: As soon as I click publish, the terms are out:
Source: Jaso deal with #Pirates is two years, $8M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 23, 2015
That’s a really nice deal for the Pirates, assuming Jaso isn’t so brutally terrible at first base (or the corner outfield, if he occasionally rotates in).