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Mariners Acquire Jaso

The Mariners have traded RHP Josh Lueke to the Rays, along with a player to be named later or cash considerations, for C John Jaso. Presumably, Jaso will be Miguel Olivo's backup, and also becomes the closest thing the organization has to a long-term solution this side of Adam Moore.

Jaso is what he is, a left-handed hitting catcher without much of an arm, but steady hands, and a steady bat. He has a bit of power (which Safeco won't kill, because he's left-handed), but his patience is his greatest asset.

Interestingly enough, Jaso and Olivo's strengths and weaknesses complement each other nicely. It makes a platoon a logical possibility, but in reality, I think some of Olivo's value comes in his tough-nosed insistence on playing every day. My sense is that Olivo is a leader within the clubhouse, and that's a good thing with his toughness and competitive fire. This is still a young team looking to impart "the Mariner way" on inexperienced players, which is why I am pretty sure Jaso won't be playing too much. Still, the Mariners lacked depth at catcher. Jaso is a welcome and needed addition.

The flip side of this deal is as interesting. It made sense for the Mariners to trade out of their stable of young relievers. I don't think it is a mistake that Lueke was the first guy to go. His inclusion in the Cliff Lee trade was always somewhere between puzzling and troubling. If Lueke had to go, he would have been gone a while ago - but all things considered, he was probably right up there with Chone Figgins as far as "available" players go, if you catch my drift. This trade makes sense purely from a baseball standpoint, but the back story can't be ignored. It makes the deal make even more sense.

Jaso for Lueke is a nice deal for the Mariners. It's not a big enough move to have a real winner or loser of the trade, but the roster is in better shape this evening than it was this morning. Moreover, these are the kind of deals that show why talent is more important than balance in a farm system. Jack Zduriencik has spent a couple years building up internal options, and he's been a bit pitching heavy. If that's where the talent is, a team has to take it, and trust that prospects can be used as assets in the trade market to get what is needed. That's what happened today, and in a small way it is refreshing to see the Mariners in a position to use prospects in role-filling trades. It's been a while since the Mariners have traded a prospect, and I haven't wondered how the M's will replace the hole in the farm system. There's no need to worry about that tonight.