By Jason Shetler
After non-tendering Pedro Alvarez last offseason, the Pirates replaced the former first round selection with John Jaso, in an effort to add a more consistent on base presence in the lineup. Jaso has done just that, putting up a .358 on base percentage in the leadoff spot.
While it’s not a shock that Jaso continues to display good on base ability, the bigger surprise is how well he’s been able to handle playing first base after having very little experience at the position entering this year. Jaso to this point has committed just three errors, while posting a 3.2 UZR. Josh Bell, who got a taste of some big league action last week, should be the first baseman on a regular basis in 2017. With Jaso under contract for next season, he could used off the bench late in games as a reliable defensive replacement for Bell.
Looking ahead to this offseason, the Pirates bullpen is likely to lose a couple of key arms with Mark Melancon and Neftali Feliz both hitting the free agent market. As I just mentioned, Jaso is under team control next year, so perhaps the Pirates consider trading him to obtain bullpen help. Given the on base skill set, above average defense and a very reasonable salary of $4 million, he could be a nice trade piece. If they don’t decide to move Jaso, then the Pirates just simply have a very good reserve player for 2017.