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Jaso traded to Mariners for RH reliever, PTBN and cash

Posted Nov 27, 2011 by Roger Mooney

Updated Nov 27, 2011 at 08:32 PM


The Rays traded catcher John Jaso tonight to Seattle for right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke, a player to be named later and cash.

Lueke, who appeared in 25 games last season for the Mariners, has a chance to make the Rays bullpen this spring.

“Josh has the stuff to get hitters out in the American League East and began to show that during the second half of last season,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “We believe he can be an important part of our success here for many years.”

The move opens a spot for catcher Jose Molina, the former Blue Jay who will sign a free agent deal with the Rays as early as Monday and will form one-half of a platoon.

Jose Lobaton, who spent the second half of the season on the major league roster (but missed 43 games with a sprained left knee), appears to be the leading candidate to split time behind the plate with Molina.

After a solid rookie season, Jaso struggled in 2011 as the left-handed bat in a platoon with Kelly Shoppach.

His batting average went down by 39 points and he drew 24 less walks.

Jaso’s struggles behind the plate concerned the team, and as a result, he started only 17 of the team’s final 40 games and one of the final 12.

Defense is the premium for every position player. The Rays want their catchers to not only call the game but help the pitchers control the running game.

Jaso threw out only 8 of 58 base stealers. That 13.8 percent was the second-lowest in the major leagues.

Lueke, 27, was on the Mariners Opening Day roster, but was optioned back to Triple A after a rough start in which he allowed 12 runs in 6 1/3 innings over eight appearances.

He returned in July, allowing 10 runs over 26 1/3 innings in 17 appearances.

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