The Pirates want John Jaso to work out at third base and in the outfield this winter, MLB.com’s Adam Berry reports. Jaso was a catcher prior to the 2016 season, but moved to first base this year and had immediate success defensively, so it’s wouldn’t be that surprising if he were capable of handling third as well. The idea that Jaso could be used in a multi-positional role in 2017, though, suggests that the Pirates could have Josh Bell (a far worse defender than Jaso, but a younger player and a slightly better hitter, at least by 2016 statistics) take the bulk of the playing time at first base. The team already has David Freese available to back up Bell at first and Jung Ho Kang at third, so finding time for Jaso as a third baseman might be difficult. There might be a bit more space for Jaso in the outfield, with backups Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez eligible for free agency. Still, with another year remaining on his contract, Jaso could potentially be a trade candidate this winter or in Spring Training. Here’s more from around the league.
- With Mark Teixeira retiring, the Yankees will have a new regular first baseman next season for the first time since Teixeira’s arrival in 2009, Chad Jennings of Lohud.com writes. GM Brian Cashman says the Yankees’ default approach next season will be to go with younger options at first. “[W]ithout having advance notice on what becomes available and what gets presented to you in various concepts – I would that that would be the way that we like to approach this going into Spring Training of next year,” he says. “Let the kids get a shot at it.” Greg Bird, Tyler Austin and Rob Refsnyder could all get opportunities at the position. Bird is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League after having missed the 2016 season due to a shoulder injury. If he proves he’s healthy, one would think he would have the inside track on playing time after batting .261/.343/.529 in his first 178 big-league plate appearances in 2016.
- Top Cubs executive Theo Epstein sees parallels between the organization he currently runs and the one he led while with the Red Sox, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald writes. Epstein’s Cubs made their first playoff run last season but were ousted by the Mets in the NLCS. His first playoff team in Boston fell in the ALCS to the other New York franchise in 2003. The next year, of course, the Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918. “I’ve had some flashbacks here and there. First few days of the offseason last year, after getting knocked out by the Mets, definitely felt like the same kind of galvanizing time that we had in Boston after Aaron Boone walked us off,” Epstein says. “Hopefully the same results: ’03 to ’04, ’15 to ’16.”
- News that the Nevada Assembly has approved expenditures for a stadium designed to lure the Raiders from Oakland has no immediate impact on the Athletics, writes John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group. A’s owner Lew Wolff says he hasn’t heard anything about the possibility that the Raiders’ option to tell the A’s to find a new place to play should the Raiders find a home somewhere besides the Oakland Coliseum. “They were going to have to have a firm financial plan in place here if they were going to give us notice, and it doesn’t seem like that’s happening,” says Wolff. The A’s have been exploring other stadium options in Oakland, but for now, they don’t have any concrete plans to move.