Oakland A’s: John Jaso’s future as a catcher

John Jaso

John Jaso

Oakland A’s catcher John Jaso was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list this past week since his concussion symptoms have worsened over the past two weeks. He told the press that he was struck by a hard foul tip that bounced off of his face mask back in early August when the Oakland A’s were playing the Tampa Bay Rays. As of today, it is unclear as to how long he will remain on the DL.

This is not the first time that Jaso has gone on the DL due to a concussion. In 2013, he landed on the DL in late July and sat out the rest of the season. Last year, many were hoping that he would be able to come back during the postseason to either pinch hit or DH, but that did not happen.

Like last year, the Oakland A’s are unsure of how long these current concussion symptoms may last. Jaso believes that these symptoms are not as bad as back in 2013, so there is hope that he will return sometime this season. However, it may not be as a catcher.

Due to his severe concussion symptoms, some are wondering whether this will curtail Jaso’s catching career. If one foul tip can put him out of commission for numerous weeks at a time, this could be a potential issue for the Oakland A’s. Additionally, it is not uncommon for a catcher’s career to be cut short due to too many concussions.

Former catcher and current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny had his career cut short after suffering a serious concussion in 2006 while with the San Francisco Giants. He had suffered a pitch to the face early in his MLB career and a series of foul tipped balls to the facemask. The one in 2006 was the final straw.

Additionally, besides catchers, numerous field players have suffered concussion that have either sidelined or ended their MLB careers. This includes first baseman Justin Morneau, a former AL MVP, who dealt with the concussion symptoms for more than a year starting in July of 2011. Third baseman Corey Koskie suffered a concussion in 2006, missed the entire 2007 season dealing with the concussion after-effects, and finally retired in 2009 so as to not risk his health.

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With Jaso’s concussion symptoms being so persistent, it is unclear as to how much longer he will be able to be a catcher. Also, he has not played many other positions and could not easily move somewhere else in the field. He has fielded at first base a little – and when I say a little, I mean three games throughout his entire minor and major league career. If his concussion symptoms persist, Jaso’s five-year MLB career may come to a close.

Hopefully, Jaso can at least come back as a DH or pinch hitter this season for the Oakland A’s. However, since he has only signed to a one year contract with the Athletics, the A’s may not resign him if he is susceptible to concussions. But for now, let’s just hope Jaso is able to overcome this recent bout of concussion symptoms and be healthy once again.

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