Say It Ain’t Jaso: A’s Get Catcher in Deal For Youngster Cole in 3-Way Deal
By Sean Davis
It actually is Jaso, John to be exact. In a rather surprising move today the A’s traded young hurler A.J. Cole back to the Washington Nationals in a three team trade that netted them catcher John Jaso and also sent Michael Morse back to Seattle. The A’s will send pitcher Blake Treinen and a player to be named to Washington as well. Credit to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post for first reporting this deal.
Jul 14, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher John Jaso (27) hits a home run against the Texas Rangers during the game at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Texas 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
On the surface this deal is a bit of a head scratcher, not because Jaso isn’t a good ballplayer, but because the price tag the A’s had to pay to acquire him seems a little steep. Of all the players acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal last year, A.J. Cole was the prize of the trade in many circles. The logic behind the deal is very simple, Jaso hits right handers very well with a .271/.368/.421 slash line over 897 plate appearances in his career. His prospective counterpart behind the dish Derek Norris hits left handers at a .209/.269/.349 clip, not exactly breathtaking numbers, at least in a positive way.
The casualty of this trade is George Kottaras who was designated for assignment to make room on the 40 man roster for Jaso. Tough break for him since he just yesterday signed a $1 million contract for 2013 with the Athletics. He’ll most likely elect free agency or be traded within the next 10 days.
From what I can tell, most people either love this deal or they hate it. I find myself somewhere in the middle. I was really excited about Cole’s future potential, although he was still very raw and struggled a bit in Stockton last year. His advanced stats though suggested he wasn’t as ineffective as it appeared. Once he was demoted to Burlington he excelled once again. He’s only 21 so there’s still time to right the ship, but he’ll have to do that back in the Nationals organization. I would have felt much better about this deal had the main piece from the A’s been someone like Brad Peacock instead. Peacock will be 25 in just a couple weeks and struggled badly in Sacramento, although his advanced stats also took a little of the edge off his numbers as well.
Billy Beane has clearly demonstrated that the organization is in full “win now” mode with this deal. It would be dramatic to say this was a mortgaging the future magnitude deal, but someone as highly regarded as Cole (Ranked the number 3 prospect by Baseball America) seems like he should only be dealt for a true impact player. But alas, the deal is done and Cole is gone.
As for the team in 2013, I do think it will help as I truly did believe Derek Norris was not ready to be the everyday catcher. I had been calling for the A’s to sign an inexpensive backstop, they didn’t do that, but this will definitely help solidify the position. Jaso is under control for 3 more seasons so he can be around as long as it takes Norris to develop, or if he fails to develop at all. All in all it’s a decent trade, let’s just hope losing Cole doesn’t come back to bite the Athletics.