By Jason Shetler
On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Pirates are open to trading Josh Harrison. The trade value on Harrison is quite interesting, because despite being a pretty good defender and having the ability to play multiple positions, he hasn’t been an above league average hitter since 2014, which of course was his All-Star year.
Last offseason, the Pirates signed John Jaso on a two-year deal worth $8 million. He played first base as a left-handed platoon in the first half, but was moved to the bench in the second half in favor of Josh Bell. Although the Pirates haven’t publicly mentioned Jaso being on the trade block, there’s been some people, including myself, who wonder if he could be moved this offseason. So does Jaso present more trade value than Harrison? – Let’s compare their value as it stands right now.
Josh Harrison (2016): .283/.311/.388, 3.4 BB%, 14.6 K%, 85 OPS+, 1.8 WAR in 131 games
John Jaso (2016): .268/.353/.413, 10.4 BB%, 17.1 K%, 104 OPS+, 0.9 WAR in 132 games
Harrison was a better defender and baserunner than Jaso in 2016, so it makes his worth more valuable in terms of WAR. Jaso however did have a better year offensively, especially in the on base department, posting a .353 OBP, thanks in part to a solid walk rate that was 7% higher than Harrison’s.
The contract for Jaso also favors him, as he’ll make a very reasonable $4 million in 2017. Harrison meanwhile has two more guaranteed years on his current deal, and will be owed $18 million. Ultimately, it comes down to what another team is looking for. If a team wants to acquire a good defender with versatility, then Harrison is more valuable, and if a club is searching for someone who gets on base consistently, then that value points to Jaso. With that being said, I think you can make a case that the trade value of Harrison and Jaso is about equal.