Pirates Offseason Trade Candidate: John Jaso
Prior to the start of the 2016 season the Pirates signed John Jaso to a two-year contract. The idea was for Jaso to start at first base against right-handed pitching. However, Jaso’s role has changed.
Anyone who is a regular reader of Rum Bunter knows we love John Jaso. This is especially true if you follow us on Twitter. Which, if you do not, go follow use right now! @rumbunter
This past season we referred John Jaso as names such as JasGOAT and Jas[insert goat emoji here]. We did this partly to troll Pirate fans who hated the signing of Jaso last offseason. But, mostly, we did it because we truly do love Jaso’s game.
John Jaso was brought to Pittsburgh to do one thing. That one thing was hit right-handed pitching well. And that is exactly what Jaso did in 2016.
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During the 2016 season John Jaso slashed .281/.361/.433/.794 against right-handed pitching. He also owned a 10.1 percent walk rate, .153 ISO, .346 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 118 against righties in 2016. So Jaso did what he was brought on board to do in 2016.
For much of the first four months of the season John Jaso played first base and hit lead off against right-handed pitchers. However, in August Josh Bell became an everyday Major League player. Due to this, Jaso saw his playing time reduce significantly.
As the offseason begins, odds are, John Jaso does not factor into the Pirates’ plans at first base for 2017. Most likely Josh Bell will be the everyday first baseman in 2017. And if Bell is not starting then we will likely see David Freese at first base.
Due to this many people have speculated that John Jaso could be on the trading block this season. Many people also think that the Pirates could look to allocate the four million dollars Jaso is owed in 2017 elsewhere. However, in my opinion, the Pirates should not trade Jaso this offseason.
In 2017 the Pittsburgh Pirates should be one of the best offensive teams in the National League. A big part of this will be a strong bench. And, a big part of this strong bench is Jaso.
At this moment the only position Jaso can play for the Pirates is first base. He is a former catcher, however, he can no longer catch due to concussion issues. But this offseason Jaso will work to add third base and the outfield to his repertoire. This would add to Jaso’s versatility and the value he brings the Pirates.
I believe John Jaso can bring a good amount of value to the Pirates in 2017. For this reason, I would not be looking to trade him this offseason if I were Neal Huntington. But that would not stop me from trading him either.
While I would not be shopping Jaso, I also would be willing to move him for the right price. If a team in need of a left-handed hitting first baseman or designate hitter called me about Jaso, I would certainly listen. But I would not be approaching teams about moving Jaso.
Next: The Value Of Drew Hutchison
Personally, I would not trade John Jaso. I believe he can be a very good, and very important, bench player for the Pirates in 2017. However, if Neal Huntington tried to shop Jaso around this offseason I would completely understand why.