Sunday, November 27, 2011

The John Jaso Trade

The Rays have traded John Jaso to the Mariners for Josh Lueke and a player to be named later (or cash). Jaso had a .2 WAR in 2011, and 2.4 career WAR in 687 PA. This would be about a 2.1 WAR in 600 PA (a full season, although a catcher would probably have much less). Jaso is not even arbitration eligible and should make minimum salary. He has a -.8 D-WAR, and well below average Range Factor at 6.4. Offensively, he has a .340 OBP, 99 OPS +, and 1.725 O4S. He has done this despite having a .266 BABIP, even though he is an average line drive and flyball hitter. It is not crazy to suggest he is due for some BABIP luck or at least normalcy. His Secondary Average is pretty poor at .266, and he has an ISO of just .119. His offensive winning percentage is .466, with 4.3 Runs created per game. He is an under average home run hitter at 1.5% and hits extra base hits at a low percentage as well. He is a above average walker, at 12.2%, a very solid number along with a good PPS of 98.4. The Rays received Josh Lueke. Before we can look at Lueke's statistics, I have to provide a disclaimer. Lueke was accused of rape in 2009, it appears that is basically over and he won't be serving any kind of time for it, but it is still a question an organization must ask. Should an organization acquire players with criminal pasts? How scared should they be that the player will repeat offend? Or is it a case by case basis? I don't really know the answer to it, and this is a baseball statistics blog, so you probably don't care what my opinion is anyway. So now on to the fun stuff: what kind of pitcher is Lueke? He pitched in the Majors for the first time in 2011, appearing in 25 games and had a -.4 WAR. He had a bad PE of 2.15, but his adjusted PE was -.67, pretty solid. His TR wasn't really impressive at 8.27, but his SIERA was 3.58. For what it's worth, Bill James protections have him with a -2.8 PE next year, which would make him not quite an elite reliever, but a very good one. In his AAA career, he has pitched exclusively in the PCL, a much more hitter friendly league than the International League. There he had a -2.24 PE, or an expected PE of .29, unimpressive for a reliever. However, with the numbers being PCL, you have to argue that his expected numbers should be better than that. One could also dismiss the statistics as small sample size, as it is just under 60 innings. Either way, I think a lot of this trade is going to depend on the Player to be named later. Jaso is a player who can have a 2 WAR season on minimum salary, and as solid of a reliever as Lueke should be, it is not extremely likely he will rack up that kind of WAR. This doesn't  mention the factor of the criminal record, which I don't know how to measure (there is a reason I haven't written a Carlos Zambrano article). At least initially, I would say the edge goes to the Mariners.

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