News: Jim Johnson and John Jaso sign

By Jason Wojciechowski on January 16, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Jim Johnson and John Jaso signed arbitration-avoiding contracts today. Here's one source.. No word yet on whether the A's have also signed:

  • Jim Jones
  • John Johnstone
  • Jim James
  • Jason Johnson
  • J.J. Hardy

Jim Johnson gets $10 million, which is the number we've been hearing ever since the A's acquired him from Baltimore for Jemile Weeks, so we've all done the analysis on it already. If you think he's a good pitcher (I do) and you figure he's going to be pitching a lot in high-leverage situations (per FanGraphs, 48 percent of his innings last year had high leverage, and another 32 percent had medium leverage), this might not be the terriblest amount of money to spend on a dollars-per-win basis. It's been reasonably well established at this point that relievers operate in their own market relative to commonly available win metrics. Teams see these players differently than outside sabermetricians do. (Not all teams. Cleveland, for instance, seems essentially to have built a blogger's paradise in their relief corps.)

Depending on how much you think Jemile Weeks is worth (it might be that you think, for instance, that he's worth negative money because he'll never provide above-replacement value in the majors but he'll cost money to employ and feed and house; but I think it's fair to still figure that he's got some positive value left), the A's could be considered to be paying Johnson a boatload to pitch 70 innings in 2014.

But hey, at least he makes my life easy in terms of figuring out where he fits: if he pitches well and is healthy, he's the closer. If he pitches like garbage, he'll wind up in the 7th inning. If he gets hurt, he'll ... be hurt.

Jaso is tougher. He'll make just $2.3 million, which means that health could bring excellent value, even measured by the standards of the designated hitter. American League DHs last year (i.e. excluding the weirdos and randos who wind up playing the position when NL teams visit in interleague) had a .267 TAv -- they basically hit like left fielders. In Jaso's last two seasons, he's put up .337 and .291 marks premised on stellar on-base percentages and a bump for hitting in difficult parks. Over 500 plate appearances, a .290 TAv from Jaso would be worth about 13 runs above the average designated hitter. On the open market, a DH who can catch (i.e. not a DH like Kendrys Morales) and hit like Jaso should get ... gosh, who even knows. The DH is a dying breed, but if you could count on Jaso to stay healthy and keep hitting? I'd pay him $12 million. I'd pay him $15 million. The A's will pay him $2.3 million.

Do the A's carry three catchers? Is Jaso the backup? Will Bob Melvin lose his hair over his backup being the DH every night? Who's the DH against righties if Jaso is hurt?

I don't care. The A's will pay him $2.3 million.

(Plus the continuing cost of not having Ian Krol and Blake Treinen and A.J. Cole. Whatever! Don't harsh my buzz!)