The Rays have three catchers, and Jose Lobaton appears to be the third. He has appeared to be the third for a while, but to reiterate:
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 5, 2014
Lobaton can’t throw nor move particularly well and is not a framer nor pitch caller of any particular regard. He’s interesting because he can take walks from the catcher slot (.228/.311/.343, 87 wRC+).
He just takes walks. In 2013, he did pretty well adding things around this “taking walks” skill set (.249/.320/.394, 103 wRC+ in 311 plate appearances), but he’s 29 and has spent parts of 10 seasons in the minors. He cannot be trusted to keep up this business of not being terrible very long. That he seems enticing says awful, awful things about Tyler Flowers and Josh Phegley.
So let’s propose deals.
Matt Adams: Phegley for Lobaton straight up. No? Ok.
James Fegan: No, but now the discussion thread has begun!
Collin Whitchurch: I’m thinking, dammit! How about just cash? Tampa always wants cash.
JF: One of the outfielders? I might want a live MiLB arm alongside Lobaton as well, though.
But damn, will they take cash?
By “outfielders” I mean De Aza or Viciedo. I mean the outfielders they’re trading. Those two guys.
CW: De Aza and cash for Lobaton and a MiLB arm. Does that work? Looking at Tampa’s depth chart…they have DeJesus starting in LF. He’s no lock, and it doesn’t look like they have much depth behind him.
MA: They might take one of those guys straight. Perhaps 1 plus salary difference of Loba/OF and one of their milb wild cards.
JF: They probably don’t want a second DeJesus, then.
MA: We all have great skills at essentially repeating James’ ideas back to him.
Matt Joyce supposedly put on 15-20 pounds of muscle in the offseason which isn’t actually possible so once he gets hurt RF is open.
With Loney and all of their lefty outfielders, seems like Dayan would be of most use. Then again, maybe Tampa would never let some crap like “Dayan in the field” fly.
Oh, Joyce is listed as their DH. Yeah, they want Dayan.
I mean, they employed Delmon Young last year.
CW: As much as I’d like to see it, I don’t see Hahn trading Viciedo for Lobaton unless we got a pretty decent MiLB player as well. And Tampa’s system ain’t what it once was.
MA: Dayan sounds good. Somebody draw it up and somebody different coax Friedman into green lighting.
JF: Let’s ask for something else extravagant, then! Lobaton and Hellickson for Viciedo! Dayan Viciedo for Jose Lobaton and one night alone with Demi Moore.
MA: They’ll get back to us on that right after his re-evaluation.
JF: But seriously! Anything else? WHERE IS NICK?
Nick Schaefer: Hellickson sucks and I’d rather have Viciedo. And how dare you guys write like 25+ emails about this. I saw them all at once and thought something important happened.
JF: I know Hellickson sucks. That’s why I asked for him in a trade centered around Dayan Viciedo.
CW: But guys, Hellickson has 39 wins in his first three seasons!
JF: I hope you know my plan for the post is just to post these emails, so we better have a final proposal by the end of this.
JF: Dayan Viciedo for Jose Lobaton and Felipe Rivero. Who says no? Besides the Rays, of course.
CW: I think the Rays would probably prefer Viciedo than De Aza in this fake deal, but I don’t think the White Sox would do it. If the Rays would accept De Aza, I’d do him and cash for Lobaton and MiLB arm. (If someone wants to look for an actual name…I’m at work).
CW: Yeah, like Felipe Rivero
JF: De Aza is fair from a pure value perspective. But they don’t need another lefty outfielder, especially if he can’t outstrip Jennings with the glove in center. This is an impasse.
CW: Alright thinking outside the box a bit, what about someone like Gillaspie? Rays could use some corner insurance with Longoria’s injury history and Loney’s regression potential. Only problem there is that both Loney and Gillaspie are LH hitters.
JF: DON’T YOU TOUCH CONOR!
CW: I knew that’d upset you. Sorry.
JF: They just acquired Logan Forsythe, who is not good or anything but might mitigate their interest in reserve infielders. I guess any of these guys should be worth Jose Lobaton, who is a reserve catcher, but Dayan tickles the most fancies.
CW: Ah, I forgot about Forsythe.
I’ve got it! Adam Dunn.
JF: Adam Dunn + $20 million for Jose Lobaton. The best worst trade of all-time.
CW: I tried to click “like” on that last email and then remembered this isn’t Facebook. I’m tired.
JF: You’ve put in a yeoman effort. Viciedo for Lobaton and Felipe Rivero, with the expectation that we get browbeat into accepting Kirby Yates?
This is probably too little. I think if the White Sox are content with punting 2014, allowing catcher to remain a bowl of puss while better opportunities develop and seeing if Viciedo’s lottery ticket cashes out might be safer.
CW: Agreed. I don’t think flipping Viciedo for a 29 year old whose best attribute is that he’s not Flowers or Phegley is very smart. And I don’t think Hahn would do it anyway.
JF: We have spent a long time to decide that there is no good fit and we don’t want to force this. We have successfully recreated the path of 99.7% of trade discussions.
CW: But it was so much fun! And hey, if the Rays would take something as little as cash and/or an organizational piece I’d still be down.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan