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Mariners acquire catcher John Jaso from Rays

Nov 27, 2011, 9:57 PM EDT

John Jaso AP

Given the Rays’ struggles behind the plate last season, it didn’t seem all that likely that the team would be content to replace Kelly Shoppach with Jose Molina and call it a day. They went in another direction Sunday, trading incumbent John Jaso to the Mariners for reliever Josh Lueke and a player to be named or cash.

Jaso, 28, is known for his on-base skills, and he’ll provide a pretty stark contrast to Miguel Olivo when he’s in Seattle’s lineup next season, assuming he bounces back. Jaso hit .263/.372/.378 as a rookie in 2010 before slipping to .224/.298/.354 in 246 at-bats last season.

The Rays figure to go get a new starting catcher to replace Jaso, though they do have an internal option in Robinson Chirinos. Ramon Hernandez is still out there in free agency and would make a ton of sense for the club.

The Mariners figure to have Jaso and Olivo split time, though not in a straight platoon. While the left-handed-hitting Jaso should play against the majority of righties, Olivo will get some starts there, too.

In Lueke, the Rays get a power arm, but one the Mariners didn’t value very highly. Lueke was acquired from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee deal without Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik having known about his having pled no contest to a false imprisonment charge (after originally facing rape and sodomy charges) and having served jail time. Lueke throws 92-95 mph, but after he flopped in 32 2/3 innings for the Mariners last season, compiling a 6.06 ERA, it’s no surprise to see him go here. He has the potential to turn into a nice setup man or maybe even a closer for Tampa Bay.

Given that Jaso is always going to be a poor defensive catcher even if he does bounce back offensively, this looks like a win for Tampa Bay. Lueke could very well flame out, but he’s also a candidate to turn into a fine reliever, and the Rays needed to do better than Jaso for a starting catcher anyway.

  1. JBerardi - Nov 27, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    Lueke is a rapist. Shame on the Rays for employing him.

    • rhandome - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:25 AM

      He served his time in jail. People deserve second chances.

      • JBerardi - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

        He hardly “served his time”. He pled out on time served when his victim didn’t want to go through the ordeal of a trial.

    • dan1111 - Nov 28, 2011 at 4:21 AM

      Lueke may have behaved very sleazily, but he was not found guilty of rape. He served 40 days in jail for a lesser charge.

      • JBerardi - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

        “he was not found guilty of rape.”

        Yeah, most rapists aren’t. The DNA was a match.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 28, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Which only proved that they had sex. I’m not defending Lueke, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want him on my team, but DNA match isn’t proof of rape.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Nov 28, 2011 at 7:15 AM

      He pled guilty to “false imprisonment” and spent about 40 days of “real imprisonment” Sounds like a real POS.

  2. zakharovsa - Nov 27, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    Nothing about him being traded for a literal rapist?

    • JBerardi - Nov 27, 2011 at 11:06 PM

      Not a fan of the un-announced edits, Matthew (or whoever added that bit about Lueke’s past).

  3. rhmurphy - Nov 27, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Am I crazy for thinking the Rays saw the analysis saying that Molina is worth 4 wins or whatever just from his pitch framing and they are about to use him as an everyday catcher?

  4. Old Gator - Nov 27, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Jaso and Olivo. Well now, that will transform the heart of the Fearless Crew of the Minnow’s lineup, won’t it?

    • marinersnate - Nov 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      With Jaso’s projected 2012 “WAR” this should certainly raise the 2012 M’s from a 62 win team to a 62.5 win team. I am fairly certain that there was heavy concern this morning in both Arlington and Anaheim. I look for both the Rangers’ and Angels’ to counter this with a corresponding move almost immediately….

  5. lostsok - Nov 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Jaso is a solid contact hitter. His lack of power is not an issue in SafeCo, where everyone lacks power, and he’s not such a bad defensive catcher that he’ll cost more games than win (IF he can bounce back).

    Clearly the M’s wanted Lueke gone, period. Their call, and I certainly can’t fault it. With that in mind, they got a solid return.

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