In what may be indicative of the Seattle Mariners off-season intention to get better in many areas, the team traded reliever Josh Lueke to the Tampa Bay Rays today for left-handed hitting catcher John Jaso.
“John gives us a left-handed hitting catcher with some big league time who is still young,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “His left-handed bat will be a nice compliment to our right-handed hitting group. He’s a tough kid with post-season experience and should be a nice fit with us.”
Jaso, 28, appeared in 89 games with the Rays in 2011, collecting 15 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 27 RBI in 246 at-bats with a .224 average.
Lueke, 26, appeared in 25 games with Seattle last season, his first in the Majors. The right-hander was 1-1 with a 6.06 earned run average and struck out 29 in 32.2 innings pitched while allowing 13 walks.
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Jaso gives the Mariners a viable option for resting incumbent catcher Miguel Olivo against the toughest right-handed pitchers, assuming he makes the team. It may also signal that someone like Adam Moore could be dangled in a trade package.
Lueke was obtained in the 2010 Cliff Lee trade with Texas, along with Blake Beavan and Justin Smoak.