John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday morning that the A’s and catcher/DH John Jaso had avoided arbitration with a $2.3 million contract that included some small incentives. Jaso missed a large chunk of the end of the season with a major concussion. He came over to the A’s in the 2012 offseason trade that sent a couple of prospects to the Washington Nationals and Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners. He was known as a high on base percentage hitter with some pop and good gap-to-gap power. He was also seen as a valuable commodity being an offensive first catcher and left-handed.
When Jaso first arrived to the A’s fans already had some background knowledge of him being that he played for the Seattle Mariners. He was an ok defensive catcher who was extremely patient at the plate. That patience did not disappoint as Jaso put up an astounding .387 OBP to go along with a .271 AVG. Even though they only came in 249 plate appearances those numbers are remarkable and obviously fit in perfectly with the A’s system. If Jaso could stay healthy for an entire season there is not telling the potential for runs scored by him considering that on base percentage. This is one reason why he is so valuable to the A’s offensive success going into 2014
The other reason Jaso is valuable is the first sentence I wrote. If Jaso could stay healthy for the entire season in 2014 a $2.3 million contract for his offensive numbers would be one of the better bargains in baseball (do you sense a trend with bargains?). To put that into perspective, the next two closest catchers in OBP are: Carlos Santana of the Cleveland Indians (makes $3.5 million in 2014) at .377 and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants (makes $12.5 million in 2014) at .371. Obviously this does not consider AVG., Slugging, and defense, but it does show that Jaso slots into some good company while coming on the cheap.
Jaso will more than likely not see to many games behind the plate in 2014 due to the emergence of catcher Stephen Vogt, but he will see the bulk of his playing time at the designated hitter position. The transition from being an everyday player (by everyday player I mean playing in the field as well) to being a DH and coming into at bats cold every game is a difficult one for some players to adjust to and it does not always work out. However, in the case with Jaso his patience and offensive prowess should help him in the transition rather than hinder him.