John Jaso joins the Pirates on a two-year contract

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Pittsburgh has found its left-handed-hitting replacement for Pedro Alvarez at first base, signing John Jaso to a two-year, $8 million contract.

Jaso, who began his career as a catcher and transitioned out from behind the plate following a concussion, figures to platoon at first base with the right-handed-hitting Michael Morse. He won’t come anywhere near the same power numbers as Alvarez, but Jaso has very strong on-base skills and almost can’t help but be an upgrade defensively.

Jaso hit .286 with five homers and an .839 OPS in 70 games for the Rays in 2015 and he’s a career .263 hitter with a .767 OPS through age 31. Those career marks include a .274 batting average and .797 OPS versus righties–compared to a .178 batting average and .542 OPS versus lefties–so it’s easy to see why the Pirates think he’s a good fit for a platoon role paired with Morse.