With the Nationals' interest in Jose Lobaton becoming common knowledge in recent days, the potential trade return has surfaced. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says the Nats may be willing to give up pitching prospect Nathan Karns to land the veteran backstop.
Karns made his MLB debut with the Nationals last season and was the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2012. He throws mid-90s heat and is talented, however, he currently sits far down the Nationals depth chart. He's probably nine or 10 guys down the ladder when it comes to Nats starting pitchers.
Karns came up to make three mid-summer starts with the Nats last season and posted a 7.50 ERA. He spent most of the year with Double-A Harrisburg where he went 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA. The 26-year-old was drafted by Washington in the 12th round of the 2009 draft.
Lobaton would be a perfect backup for Wilson Ramos if traded to the Nats. Last year he held a .249 average through 100 games with seven home runs and 32 RBI.
If Karns and Lobaton are indeed traded for each other, it seems like a deal that would benefit both sides. The Nationals need catching depth and the Rays could use extra starting pitchers as they prepare for the eventual departure of David Price.