May 10, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher John Jaso (5) hits a RBI-double during the 10th inning against the Washington Nationals at O.co Coliseum. The Athletics defeated the Nationals 4-3 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman has made very few mistakes in his tenure with the team but the trades of two catchers are still coming back to haunt him.
The Jaso trade still goes down as the worst move in Friedman’s time as the Rays GM. He traded a potential number one catcher for a relief pitcher who has been a complete disaster since arriving in Josh Lueke.
In his lone year with the Mariners, Jaso clubbed 10 home runs and drove in 50. Over the last season and half with the A’s, Jaso has 10 homers and 48 RBIs. He hasn’t hit lower than .270 since the trade.
Jul 11, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Stephen Vogt (21) hits a single against the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Lueke, on the other hand, is 1-4 with an ERA of 6.22 in 47 games with the Rays. He’s currently in AAA with the Durham Bulls because of his ineffectiveness at the major league level.
After an 0-for-25 start to his major league career, Friedman dumped Vogt off to the Athletics for either a player to be named or cash. Turned out it was just cash.
Since then, Vogt has hit .304 with eight homers and 33 RBIs with Oakland. This season, he has a .374/.402/.552 slash line.
Both Jaso and Vogt would still be valuable members of the Rays if Friedman hadn’t moved either player.
Jaso would easily have fit in as the Rays number one catcher, a role he was beginning to embrace in his two seasons with the team. Vogt may not have been the first choice guy, but he is an extremely reliable backup option.
The A’s current catcher setup could well have been what the Rays should have been deploying for the last couple of years.
While Ryan Hanigan has now settled in to the role of primary catcher, it still took the Rays three seasons to obtain one. Jose Molina is expendable due to his age and awful bat but because of his contract he won’t be going anywhere.
Hanigan is a legit number one catcher while Molina is a borderline backup at this point. However, the Rays had two catchers who would have performed admirably for the team but Friedman instead chose to move both of them.
Catcher has always been a problem for the Rays but it could have been less of a hindrance years ago if Friedman had kept not only Jaso, but Vogt too.