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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nats, Rays swap Lobaton and Karns

The Washington Nationals shored up their catching corps and added more talent to the upper levels of their Minor League system on Thursday, acquiring catcher Jose Lobaton, left-hander Felipe Rivero and outfielder Drew Vettleson from the Tampa Bay Rays.

In exchange, the Nationals sent right-handed starter Nathan Karns to the Rays. To clear space for Rivero on the team’s 40-man roster, right-hander Erik Davis was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow sprain.

Bourbon Samurai Posted: February 13, 2014 at 04:03 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, rays

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   1. zonk Posted: February 13, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4656485)
That seems a bit much, no?

I think vettleson's stock has fall pretty significantly and Labaton isn't Buster Posey (I know nothing about Rivero) -- but Karns will be 26 this year. His minor league record is pretty solid, I guess (looks like he's missed some injury time?), and the Nats have had a logjam in the rotation for a couple years, but I think I like this deal a lot more for the Nats than for the Rays.

Don't the Rays already have something like half a dozen of these Karns sorts of guys down in Durham? (Torres, Colome, plus Odorizzi and Archer...)
   2. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 13, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4656493)
Torres was traded.
   3. andrewberg Posted: February 13, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4656507)
The Rays really needed some rotation depth with Hellickson on the mend at the start of the year. The fifth spot was going to either go to Colome (seems premature to me) or Odorizzi (against their practice wrt service time). Even if they were comfortable going with one or the other of them, they really had no #7 going into the year. Given how badly rotations break down from time to time, that was a concerning lack of usable depth, unless they wanted to stretch McGee back out.
   4. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4656517)
And Archer is in the rotation already with either Odorizzi or Colome (I assume it will be Odorizzi) starting the season there as well until Hellickson is back. So without Karns the Rays are one pitching injury from having little in the way of good rotation depth.

Edit: As Andrewberg said
   5. jmurph Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4656524)
The AL East is going to be interesting. All 5 teams are relatively flawed, but they should all be good. My inclination is to say Tampa looks like the best team, but I'm not sure.
   6. zonk Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4656536)
OK - wasn't aware Torres was traded and forgot that Archer already graduated....

However, couldn't you get more than Karns for a Lobaton/Vettleson/Rivero package?

I suppose the Brewers aren't really looking for catching help, but just as an example, the Garza signing means the Brewers have a couple of guys that are Karnsian -- but a couple years younger/maybe with more upside.

I could see Lobaton/Karns straight-up -- I'm just not sure why the Rays had to toss in a couple prospects (even if they're more middling ones)...

BTW - whatever happened to Mike Montgomery? I always liked him as lottery ticket in the Shields deal... did he pretty much continue his spiral to oblivion?
   7. Bourbon Samurai Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4656542)
Quite happy with this as a Nats fan. Jordan and Roark were ahead of Karns in the 6th starter fight, we needed Lobaton, and happy to have the little extra pieces, even if they never turn into anything.
   8. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4656549)
I'd have figured if either side was going to have to add extra pieces in a Lobaton-for-Karns trade, it'd be the Nats.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4656555)
BTW - whatever happened to Mike Montgomery? I always liked him as lottery ticket in the Shields deal... did he pretty much continue his spiral to oblivion?

Yes. I suspect the Rays will make him a reliever and he'll turn into a super valuable relief arm for the next ten years.
   10. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4656558)
However, couldn't you get more than Karns for a Lobaton/Vettleson/Rivero package?

I like Lobaton well enough but he's a 29 year old meh defensive catcher who had 224 very good PAs at AAA in 2011 which were the only time in his minor league career he ever looked like a decent hitter. The odds are that his future performance will look closer to 2012 (82 OPS+) than 2013 (100). Vettleson is a corner outfielder who has yet to show anything in the minors that would give you optimism for his future and Rivero hasn't done a whole lot either; the best you can say for both of them is that they're only 22 this coming season. So it's a decent backup catcher that didn't have a place on the roster and two prospects who have yet to do anything to impress in the low minors; a group of guys with some value but not what you'd want to give up significant players for.

Plus the Rays' track record on trades is quite good, they deserve some benefit of the doubt.
   11. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4656562)
BTW - whatever happened to Mike Montgomery? I always liked him as lottery ticket in the Shields deal... did he pretty much continue his spiral to oblivion?

Actually he reversed the spiral a bit and had his best season since 2010. He still sucked but things did go a little better for him.
   12. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: February 13, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4656566)
The other thing to remember is that, since the Rays traded for Ryan Hanigan in December, Jose Lobaton was their 3rd catcher (behind Hanigan and Jose Molina)--and other teams surely knew that.
   13. zonk Posted: February 13, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4656574)
Well, I don't want to be TOO hard on the Rays -- I just think they "lost" this trade, but I highly, highly doubt it's a trade that matters. As Jim said - a 29 yo meh catcher and two disappointing prospects... likely, this ends up being a forgotten, meaningless trade in a few years.

I just think if I had to declare a first draft 'winner' -- I'd take the Nats. Given that both teams fancy themselves contenders and both teams do have some needs, I just think the Nats filled their needs PLUS got a couple lottery tickets.
   14. andrewberg Posted: February 13, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4656602)
Right, I agree with Zonk that, win or lose, the impact is not that huge. Both teams addressed a need, no wildly important players changed hands. It makes some sense, but it is not the kind of trade that makes for fun internet yelling.
   15. Select Storage Device Posted: February 13, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4656624)
Thanks for this Jose.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: February 13, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4656625)
And Lobaton was a super-2 and signed for $900 K in 2014 to be the #3 catcher. That's a "luxury" I'm sure the Rays would rather not have.

I'm a little surprised to see that Hanigan has a 3/$11 contract. That's not particularly cheap by half-time C standards and it covers ages 33-35. Is he another pitch-framing god?
   17. Select Storage Device Posted: February 13, 2014 at 08:42 PM (#4656638)
Is he another pitch-framing god?


Edit: Nice breakdown from the man himself, here.

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