There’s been plenty of talk about John Jaso moving from catcher to DH for the A’s this year.
It may have been nothing more than just talk.
A’s manager Bob Melvin went out of his way Saturday to stress that as long as Jaso’s health is such that he can get behind the plate, he will.
“As long as he’s healthy and can catch,’’ Melvin said, “he’ll be a catcher.’’
That says two important things about the A’s roster moving forward.
One. It’s Jaso vs. Stephen Vogt, both left-handers, vying for one of the two catching jobs available opposite Derek Norris, who hits right-handed.
Two. With no catcher being used as a DH, there will be just two catchers when the A’s roster debuts on March 31 against Cleveland, not three as was the case for much of last year. That almost guarantees that the A’s are planning to carry two first basemen, Brandon Moss and Daric Barton. Both are left-handed, and both play creditable defense.
It seems likely now that, barring injuries, Barton will start the season as the semi-regular first baseman and Moss will be the semi-regular DH. Moss can go to the outfield if someone out there needs a day off. Barton is more limited, but the A’s have a fascination with his ability to get on base – his on-base percentage last year was .350, his best since the .393 he posted in 2010.
Moss hit 30 homers last year while mostly playing first base. Barton was almost out of the organization a couple of times, but he had a big last six weeks – a .301 average and a .381 on-base percentage – when the A’s injury crunch led to room opening at first base from Aug. 26 one with Moss mostly dispatched to play the outfield.
And it seems likely that Jaso will get the nod over Vogt for the simple reason that Jaso, another on-base machine, is out of options and can’t be sent down with the risk of losing him. Not so for Vogt.