The Pittsburgh Pirates announced the signing of first baseman and outfielder John Jaso to a two-year deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the deal is worth $8 million.
Jaso, who had been a catcher for most of his career, is expected to play first base in Pittsburgh. The team non-tendered 2015 first baseman Pedro Alvarez because they felt his defense was subpar. The team feels that Jaso is an upgrade.
"We feel the offensive upside is worth the calculated gamble that he's going to be able to first base," Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The 32-year-old Jaso was used specifically against right-handers with the Rays last year, but did post good numbers overall. He hit .286/.380/.459 with five home runs and 22 RBIs. According to FanGraphs, he was worth 0.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Jaso has just five career innings at first base, so it is really hard to know whether he will be a solid addition there defensively or not. One has to assume, however, that he will be better than Pedro Alvarez, who was by far the worst defensive first baseman in the Major Leagues.
In general, the Pirates will be trying to find some value in Jaso through a position change. They hope his bat will be able to play well for them in 2016 and 2017.