Spring training has barely begun, and already, a trade involving a trio of prospects has taken place.

On Thursday, a swap occurred between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Washington Nationals, per Bill Ladson of MLB.com, in which the most recognizable name is catcher Jose Lobaton, a backup catcher whose name, let’s face it, isn’t all that recognizable in the first place.

The other three pieces are all prospects with some intriguing upside. Joining Lobaton in D.C. are young outfielder Drew Vettleson and lefty Felipe Rivero, while right-hander Nathan Karns (pictured), a 26-year-old who made three starts for the Nats last year, is heading to St. Petersburg.

This transaction occurred on the eve of spring training, so imagine what others might happen once the exhibition games actually get going. Over the next handful of weeks, prospects in big league camp will have a chance to show what they can do which might make them better known and more attractive to teams looking to acquire young, cheap talent for the future.

On the other side, any team that’s going to consider giving up a prospect this close to the start of the 2014 season would not only expect to be a contender this year but also view the youngster as a commodity currently blocked by a big leaguer. Having an area of need or two would also help necessitate such a move.

Admittedly, though, it’s hard to fathom a team willing to surrender anything more than a second- or third-tier prospect at this point, unless an unforeseen and catastrophic injury befalls a key member of the 25-man roster or a too-good-to-pass-up proposal comes to light at the last minute.

Still, here’s a handful of intriguing prospects who will be in big league camps this month and next, giving them an opportunity to open some eyes and turn themselves into potential trade chips before the real games begin.

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