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Pirates want John Jaso to try third base, outfield

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates want John Jaso to work on playing third base and the outfield this offseason, Adam Berry reports.

Berry cites a comment from Clint Hurdle at the end of the season, but if this was reported before, I missed it. I'm a little wary of random attempts by first basemen to try third base. Third base is a tougher position, and the move usually doesn't work out. You'll sometimes hear about teams telling first basemen to try third -- if I recall correctly, there were some rumblings that the Pirates wanted Steve Pearce to do that, and then Gaby Sanchez. But the move rarely sticks, and it will sometimes turn out to have been the team's way of saying, "We don't know what to do with you." (Doug Mientkiewicz did sort of make the transition with the Pirates in 2008, so there's that.)

Jaso's case might be different, though. It's probably true that the Pirates don't really know what to do with him right now. But until 2016, he played catcher, a more demanding position than third base. He also took to first like a fish to water, and now, between the two positions, he has experience with most of the skills required to play third (throwing, catching flying baseballs, handling grounders, and so on). He might be able to play third pretty capably, and I'm sure he can handle right field as well.

Of course, the Pirates already have Josh Bell and David Freese to play first, and Jung Ho Kang and Freese to play third. Jaso is still somewhat of a square peg in a round hole, and it wouldn't shock me if the Pirates tried to trade him. He did have a .353 OBP last year, though, and with Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce potentially heading elsewhere, it would be nice if Jaso could settle into a bench role where he provided some combination of Rodriguez's versatility and defensive ability and Joyce's patience against righties.