Tag: Jose Lobaton

Washington Nationals Should Stand Pat at Catcher in Wake of Wilson Ramos Injury

It was recently reported by the Washington Post that Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos is likely headed for surgery on his left hand that could keep him out for four to eight weeks. That leaves current backup Jose Lobaton in line to get the majority of the action behind the dish, with Jhonatan Solano likely in line to become the team’s new backup. 

As indicated by the fact that Ramos hit fourth (ahead of All-Star Bryce Harper and Silver Slugger Ian Desmond) on Monday, the Nationals clearly expected him to be a big contributor in the lineup. But suddenly, whoever starts at catcher will be an obvious candidate to bat eighth each game, and the depth in Washington’s lineup takes a significant hit. 

However, the Nationals shouldn’t panic. A lineup featuring the likes of Harper, Desmond, Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche is still plenty talented enough to score enough runs to win ballgames. And at this stage of the season—the Nationals have yet to play their second gameit’s unlikely that Washington will be able to acquire a catcher who presents a significant upgrade over the team’s in-house options without vastly overpaying. 

And to be fair, Lobaton hasn’t yet had a chance to show what he can do. He hit just under .250 (.249) in 277 at-bats with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, so based on his track record, he’s not a total liability offensively and deserves a shot to prove he’s worthy of the starting job. Considering Washington gave up Nathan Karns, their former Minor League Pitcher of the Year, to get Lobaton, they obviously think somewhat highly of him. 

Worst case, Lobaton struggles for a week or two and the Nationals go out and acquire a catcher. If the team loses enough games in that span that they’re in a significant hole in the standings, there are more serious issues at hand than Jose Lobaton being the starting catcher anyway, so why not give him a shot? 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Unheralded Players

With the start of spring training just weeks away, Major League Baseball teams are looking for small pieces to upgrade the roster heading into the season. 

There are plenty of big names still available in the free-agent market, including Ubaldo Jimenez, Fernando Rodney, Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew and many more. However, teams have shown an unwillingness to give out multi-year deals or big money for these types of players.

Instead, front offices have been looking at smaller moves and trades that could add a few extra wins over the course of the season. These unheralded players could end up paying huge dividends in 2014 if they are moved.


Jose Lobaton, C, Tampa Bay Rays

A year after Jose Lobaton played the most games at catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, he appears to be the odd man out behind the plate.

The 29-year-old veteran played 100 games last season and posted a solid .320 on-base percentage in 311 plate appearances. He was also solid defensively and helped the rotation become one of the most consistent in the American League.

Unfortunately for him, Jose Molina appears healthy to start the year, and the team also acquired Ryan Hanigan this offseason in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times notes that settling the position is one of the final moves for the Rays before the start of the year:

With pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 14, the Rays don’t have much else to do. They are still having talks about trading C Jose Lobaton, but bringing him to camp, though somewhat awkward, isn‘t the worst idea: protection if either Ryan Hanigan (already working out at the Trop catching bullpen sessions) or Jose Molina gets hurt, and opportunity if another team has to react to an injury.

While Lobaton was solid last season, Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune points out why he would be the one to go:

Lobaton appears to be the odd man out because he makes the least and would be easier to trade.


With Lobaton out of options, he would have to clear waivers to remain with the organization. The Rays likely would lose him in that case.

As a result, it would be smart to move him whenever they can find a suitor. Considering good catching has been tough to find in recent years, there should be plenty of organizations looking for a veteran presence like Lobaton to add to the lineup.


Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox

Although Will Middlebrooks has shown flashes of brilliance in his short career with the Red Sox, his inconsistency has made him expendable. 

The third baseman hit 15 home runs in only 75 games as a rookie before slugging six more in April of 2013. Unfortunately, he hit only 11 more the rest of the year as his batting average continued to fluctuate. 

Middlebrooks ended up losing his starting job to Xander Bogaerts in the playoffs when he went 4-for-20 in the postseason. With his future in Boston uncertain, a number of teams are looking to make a deal, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe:

Teams ask about Middlebrooks, but the Red Sox haven’t pulled the trigger, feeling Middlebooks has power and they’d hate to lose that. The Marlins have asked a lot about Middlebrooks, but there’s no clear match unless it’s part of a Giancarlo Stanton deal, which isn’t happening. The Red Sox believe they could move Xander Bogaerts to third and still give Middlebrooks enough at-bats to make his power work by alternating him between the corners.

The reality is that the Marlins have little to offer the Red Sox besides young prospects, something they do not need. Boston wants players who can help compete right now and try to get back to the playoffs and win another World Series title.

That being said, there are plenty of teams who should be interested in adding Middlebrooks. Despite his inconsistency, he has shown plenty of raw power and could potentially be a 30-home run player at this level.

If the Red Sox are willing to part with him, this might be a worthwhile gamble for a contender.


Jason Castro, C, Houston Astros

This is the most high-profile player on this list as Jason Castro was named an All-Star last season as part of a breakout year. The catcher finished with a .276 batting average and 18 home runs as a rare bright spot on the depressing Astros.

However, Houston could look to deal him if it cannot lock him in for the long term, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:

The Astros’ Jason Castro, a first-time arbitration eligible, is another catcher who could become a trade candidate, depending upon the development of Max Stassi.

Rival teams have inquired on Castro, according to major league sources. If the Astros cannot sign him to an extension, he could become the team’s best trade chip. The ‘Stros also could move him to first base.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the two sides agreed to a deal to avoid arbitration this year:

Still, that price is just going to keep going up in the coming years as he keeps putting up big numbers. Considering Houston wants to keep its costs down, trading when the value is high might be a good strategy.

Plenty of teams around the league would love to bring in a 26-year-old catcher with a proven track record, but one can imagine the Astros will be looking for a lot in return in a potential trade.


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Best Twitter Reactions to Rays’ Jose Lobaton Walk-off Against Red Sox

Jose Lobaton became the unlikely hero for the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday after hitting a walk-off home run in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. In doing so, he sent shock waves throughout the twitterverse

After the walk-off, “#JoseLobaton” became a trending topic on Twitter. After all, it is an unwritten rule that baseball fans should tweet their acknowledgements of such a big play in the postseason, right?

Twitter users had plenty to talk about concerning the Lobaton walk-off, which kept the Rays alive in the postseason for at least one more game. And per usual, many of the tweets featured witty, sarcastic commentary intertwined with personal insight. 

These are the best Twitter reactions to Lobaton‘s walk-off home run in Game 3 of the ALDS


The Ray Pool

The best part about Lobaton‘s homer—other than being a great ending to a postseason game—is that the ball landed in the Ray pool behind the center-field wall. Could the ball have landed anywhere more perfect? I think not. 


Awkward Baseball Number

For those who don’t know, Gerry Brooks is a news anchor for NBC Connecticut, and yes, he is a Red Sox fan. 

Lobaton sports the No. 59 on the back of his uniform, which is kind of weird in baseball. The number 59 seems more like a football player’s number. Did a linebacker hit the walk-off home run in Game 3 of the ALDS?


The Dos Equis Man

Yes, Lobaton was, in fact, a defensive replacement in the game. Turns out, he made the offensive play of the game. Ironic, right?

This twitterer used the popular, effective tweeting method of impersonating the Dos Equis commercial with “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” 

As you can see, this tweet is intertwined with sarcasm, perfect for making a Red Sox fan cringe in their sofa. Well played, sir, well played. 


Who is Jose Lobaton?

It’s safe to say that Lobaton was not one of the most recognized names in baseball prior to Monday night. After all, he has only been in MLB for three years, and his job this season has primarily been as a defensive replacement. But what better way to get your name out than hitting a walk-off in the postseason?


Staying Alive

Rays fans could care less who makes the deciding play in games. The most important aspect of Lobaton‘s HR was that it keeps the Rays still fighting for their playoff lives. And if the Rays are to complete the comeback in their series with the Red Sox, then there could be a number of players who become a trending topic on the twitterverse

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