January came and went with a few more moves from Beane and company to tinker with the regular lineup for the A’s this coming season and sure up the bullpen.
The team avoided arbitration and reached an agreement with several players before the deadline – including Chris Resop, Seth Smith, Brandon Moss, and Jerry Blevins. Resop was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh earlier in the offseason and will compete for a spot in the bullpen. After struggling earlier in his career, Jerry Blevins had a phenomenal 2012 season and really turned me into a believer. While it will be interesting to see what happens with Seth Smith and his playing time – given the team’s depth in the OF positions – this was a no-brainer signing for the team. Brandon Moss will be playing 1B for the A’s a lot more frequently in 2013 (given today’s move to send Chris Carter packing for Jed Lowrie … we’ll cover this deal in a separate entry later in the week).
The big news for January came when the team announced it had acquired John Jaso from the Seattle Mariners, who immediately became the A’s starting catcher in 2013 and provides Derek Norris with a little bit of breathing room in his development and takes some pressure off the kid for having to be the everyday man behind the plate. This was an interesting deal that came out of nowhere, particularly since just days earlier, the team had resigned George Kottaras to a one year contract. After announcing the deal for Jaso, Kottaras was designated for assignment and later claimed off waivers by the Royals.
Looking at Jaso’s career numbers the move itself screams “minor upgrade” for the roster and the everyday lineup. The team has gotten rid of the black holes that were seen towards the bottom of the lineup on most nights over the past few seasons and continue to show signs that they are fully committed to putting a winner on the field in 2013 and are “going for it”. Yes!
The only reason you may not love the deal for Jaso is if you had huge hopes for AJ Cole in the A’s organization. The A’s acquired Cole in the deal last offseason involving Gio Gonzalez, but he struggled mightily in Stockton. While he is only 21 years old, there are no guarantees here and I absolutely agree with the idea of “going for it” when you have the chance.
The one other piece of news that came from the clubhouse in January was that the A’s locked up Bob Melvin through 2016, agreeing on a contract extension for the skipper. I don’t think we need to go into too much more depth of what Melvin has brought to this team when he replaced Bob Geren. I think a simple “thank you” is sufficient here. That “thank you” is to both Melvin for what he has done as the manager and to Beane for getting this deal done.