On November 27, 2011, the Seattle Mariners traded right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for catcher John Jaso. The common Mariners fan probably couldn’t tell you who John Jaso was. He had just posted a dismal offensive season and was out of a job, as the Rays inked Jose Molina to a contract shortly after the trade.
It seems as if all Jaso needed was a change of scenery. Since joining the M’s in 2012, Jaso has gone on to post a career year from all offensive standpoints. He has a 149 wRC+, good for third among catchers with at least 230 plate appearences. After drawing two walks in today’s game against Anaheim, he has now raised his OBP on the season to .400 and his SLG now stands at .487, adding out to an .887 OPS. In just 70 games played on the season, he has already set a career high in HR this season – and we’re not even halfway into August yet.
But we’ve also seen drastic improvement on the defensive side of things. Coming into this year, Jaso had only thrown out 24% of would-be stealers for his career. He’s raised that mark to 36%, throwing out 5 of 19 runners on the season. His 1.000 fielding percentage is nothing to scoff at, either.
Jaso is the best hitter on the Mariners offense, and it’s a shame that he has only played in half of the team’s games this season.