Athletics rumors: John Jaso likely to serve as full-time DH

Thearon W. Henderson

With Jaso tabbed for the DH role, Oakland is unlikely to pursue free agent sluggers like Nelson Cruz.

John Jaso is likely to serve as the Athletics' full-time DH next season, which would seem to end speculation that the club will add a big bat in free agency, as Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.

Rumors surfaced earlier in the offseason that Oakland would consider Nelson Cruz as an option to add to their relatively new flyball-centered approach -- and Cruz would certainly fit that plan of attack with a career flyball rate of 43 percent -- but reports that the 33-year-old outfielder is looking for a deal in the neighborhood of four years and $75 million likely ended that possibility rather quickly for the small-market A's.

Jaso provides the A's with a cost-effective option at DH. MLB Trade Rumors' Matt Swartz projects him to make $2.2 million in 2014 through the arbitration process. He has an exceptional major-league track record in terms of getting on base. In his last 610 plate appearances, he's posted an on-base percentage of .391 for the Mariners and A's. Despite giving back some power in the slugging department when compared to a hitter like Cruz, Jaso's overall offensive contribution makes him a much better option for a team with Oakland's financial limitations.

Oakland's catching duties are likely to be filled by Derek Norris and Steven Vogt. Last season, Norris led the team in innings behind the plate, and Vogt split the remaining time with Jaso. Isolating Jaso's bat might be the best way for Oakland to maximize his value to the club. In his career, he has struggled defensively, putting up -13 defensive runs saved (DRS) in over 2000 career innings as a catcher.

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