Just a week before pitchers and catchers are set to report, the Washington Nationals are looking to add another backstop to the mix.
MLB.com says the Nats are interested in Rays backup catcher Jose Lobaton, and that the two teams have been discussing a deal for more than a month. Lobaton is now an extra piece for Tampa Bay after they made a trade with the Reds for Ryan Hanigan.
Despite Lobaton being the odd man out, the Rays are not believed to feel any urgency to trade him. They may take their time and wait until after spring training begins.
Lobaton, 29, is a four-year pro with a career .228 average. Last season he played 100 games with the Rays and hit .249 with seven homers, 32 RBI and a .714 OPS.
The Nationals are content with Wilson Ramos as their starter, but the 26-year-old has had trouble staying healthy over the last two seasons. Lobaton would not only be a capable backup, he could also fill in for extended stretches as a starter. Last season he started 76 games for the Rays.
Lobaton is set to make $900,000 this season and is under team control through 2017.