Lueke traded for Rays catcher Jaso
John Jaso, a left-handed hitting catcher, was acquired by the Mariners on Sunday in a trade with Tampa Bay for right-handed reliever Josh Lueke and a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The player to be named is not expected to be a top prospect.
Jaso will give some needed depth to the Mariners backstop position and could be a potential platoon partner with Miguel Olivo.
Jaso, 28, has hit .245 with 10 home runs and 71 RBIs in 595 at-bats over three seasons with the Rays.
“John gives us a left-handed hitting catcher with some big league time who is still young,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “His left-handed bat will be a nice compliment to our right-handed hitting group. He’s a tough kid with post-season experience and should be a nice fit with us.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Jaso was the Rays’ Opening Day starter last year and finished his first full season in the Majors batting .224 with 15 doubles, five home runs and 27 RBIs in 246 at-bats.
He started 67 games at catcher, with 65 of those coming against right-handed pitchers. He started 50 of Tampa Bay’s first 90 games before going on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle that forced him to miss 33 games.
Jaso is regarded as a good contact hitter and he batted in the leadoff spot in six games in 2011 after batting leadoff in 45 games in 2010, when he hit .263 with 18 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 44 RBIs in 109 games as a rookie.
Jaso made his Major League debut as a September call-up in 2008, appearing in five games. The native of Chula Vista, Calif., was drafted in the 12th round by Tampa Bay in 2003 out of Southwestern Community College.
He has appeared in five post-season in 2010 and 2011 with the Rays, batting .214 (3-for-14) with one RBI.
Lueke, 26, was acquired from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee deal in July of 2010. He appeared in 25 games as a rookie last season, going 1-1 with a 6.06 ERA in 32 2/3 innings.
The Mariners have some young depth in their bullpen, but are fairly thin in the catching department behind Olivo, who will be in the final year of his two-year contract this coming season. Adam Moore played just one week last season before undergoing knee surgery, though he’s back to health now and just completed a successful stint in the Arizona Fall League.