John Jaso runs and hits quite well for a catcher. The only problem is that he sometimes seems to have a bit of a problem catching.
The 29-year-old catcher is currently sidelined with a concussion, so he doesn’t make the most compelling trade bait; but, he should be back soon and his offensive output for the Oakland Athletics has really been quite impressive.
At the moment, Jaso is a luxury that the team may or may not be able to afford. He can really hit and he makes an ideal no. 2 batter in the lineup, but his defensive lapses have proven costly this year. After the win on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, Bartolo Colon mentioned that it really doesn’t matter who’s behind the plate.
For the burly 40-year-old who currently owns a share of the MLB lead with 14 wins, that’s probably not an exaggeration.
For the rest of the team’s staff, however, perhaps not so much. The presence of Derek Norris behind the plate seems to have a calming effect on the club’s young pitchers. When Jaso jumps behind the plate, on the other hand, it always seems to be an adventure.
When the Athletics acquired Jaso in the offseason, I was quite impressed by his stats. In 2012, he hit .276 with a .850 OPS and 10 jacks in under 300 at-bats. As it turns out, the Seattle Mariners were largely willing to offload the long-haired catcher due to his defensive limitations.
It might be too soon to anoint Stephen Vogt the new backup catcher; in reality, he would be the left-handed half of the platoon and play against most right-handers. Vogt has just five hits in 23 at-bats in 2013, but two of them have gone for home runs. The Pacific Coast League is a long way from the big leagues, but with his .324 average and .945 OPS, Vogt has absolutely mashed Triple-A pitching in 2013.
Back on the big league level, he’s also already began to develop a solid rapport with the A’s pitchers.
Jaso certainly still has a very important role on the club to the point that trading him away might not even be an option. However, if the team feels confident in Vogt, Jaso could provide yet another piece to work with for GM Billy Beane, who always seems to be looking for some creative way to improve the squad.