Rays trade C John Jaso to Seattle for RP Josh Lueke. From St Pete Times
Lueke, who turns 27 in December, is a hard thrower who had some success in the second half of last season with Seattle. He made the opening day roster but struggled over eight appearances and was sent to Triple-A. He returned in July, and compiled a 3.42 ERA over 17 appearances, allowing 22 hits and seven walks with 21 strikeouts. Overall, he was 1-1, 6.06 with Seattle and 2-4, 2.76 with 11 saves for Triple-A Tacoma an was a midseason Pacific Coast League All-Star.
“Josh has the stuff to get hitters out in the American League East and began to show that during the second half of last season,” Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. “We believe he can be an important part of our success here for many years."
Lueke was acquired by Seattle from Texas in the July 2012 Cliff Lee trade. While with Texas, he pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of false imprisonment with violence stemming from a May 2008 incident, according to the Seattle Times, and was setenced to 40 days in prison, and was freed with time already served.
Lueke, according to the Times, originally faced rape and sodomy charges in Bakersfield, Calif. , after being arrested following an investigation into a May 2008 incident in which a woman said she met several minor-league players after attending a Bakersfield Blaze Class A game, then accompanied them to bars and to an apartment shared by Lueke and a teammate. According to the Times, she said she passed out, and when she awoke the next morning some of her clothes were missing.
Lueke, according to the Times, was arrested and charged with rape and sodomy in May 2009, and "the probable cause statement for arrest stated that semen found on the victim was a DNA match for Lueke." He was jailed on $150,000 bail and remained there until his plea deal was struck, according to the Times, and Lueke maintained "that he was out partying with the woman and his teammates but that he never raped or had sex with her."
Lueke was placed on the suspended list by the Rangers, then reinstated after his plea deal.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said at the time of the trade that Rangers officials assured him Lueke had put the issue behind him. "They assured us that the issues were none that they had any concern about as they moved forward, and for the last couple of years, he's been a model citizen,'' Zduriencik told the Times.
It appears the Rays will announce the signing of C Jose Molina as soon as Monday. Both catchers from last year (Jaso and Shoppach) are now gone.