Jose LobatonJose Lobaton has been traded to the Washington Nationals for right-handed pitcher Nate Karns.

In addition to Lobaton, the Rays also gave the Nationals pitcher Felipe Rivero, who was the 13th best prospect in the organization last year, and Drew Vettleson, the Rays’ first-round pick in the 2010 draft.

At the very least, expect Karns to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation with Jake Odorizzi with Jeremy Hellickson starting the season on the disabled list.

Karns, a 12th round pick in the 2009 draft, made three starts for the Nationals in 2013, spending most of the season at triple-A double-A where he was 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA (3.48 FIP).

Karns was considered the ninth-best prospect in the Nationals’ system according to He was the fifth-best prospect in 2013.

The Rays will save about $450,000 with this trade as Lobaton was set to make $950,000 and Karns would make the MLB minimum of approximately $500,000 if he is on the big league roster.



  1. Ken says:

    Sad to see Lobo go, I guess his defensive liabilities were his undoing. Kind of amazing the way Friedman has stock piled young arms this off season. I now count 4 pitchers competing for the 5th starter position, not counting HellBoy. Wow.

  2. Greg says:

    I think the Rays are constantly looking for the next starting five in the rotation as their current players cycle through their low-cost years and then out of the organization. We know they always get pitching back in every trade, so this has to be the least-surprising move of the off-season. Obviously, Lobaton was not considered good enough defensively. We've also heard rumblings at times that the pitchers preferred throwing to Molina. Resigning Molina for 2 more years confirms this in my mind.

  3. OriginalTom says:

    Cork, According to fangraphs he was at Double-A last season.

  4. Dave L says:

    Here is brief primer on Nate Karns

    6' 3' 230 pounds with a 98 mph fastball with a curve and working on the change up. The Rays as an org specialize in teaching the change up.

  5. Alex says:

    The Nas are also getting Felipe Rivero

  6. edward williams says:

    i guess i was wrong, i thought the pitchers prefered lobo, didn't he always or most of the time catch moore and price. oh well, even though it really isn't suprising i liked lobo, what i don't understand is why they didn't keep lobo and have hannigan teach him, there had to be something there, he was still young i thought, i know they just resigned molina, correct me if i am wrong but isn't hannigan also in his mid to late 30's , god it's going to be interesting year behind the plate this year, i admit i don't follow our minor leagues as much as some, but can somebody tell me if we have a young up and coming catcher , just in case , the third catcher from last year escapes me now, sorry. well at least they will save money on ice cream lol

  7. Alex says:

    Another failed hitter in Vettleson. As long as Vettleson or Rivero aren't superstars I'm fine with the trade

  8. Alex says:

    Another failed hitter in Vettleson. As long as Vettleson or Rivero aren't superstars I'm fine with the trade

  9. Rob says:

    I am surprised the Rays included Vettleson. He seems like he could one day be a serviceable major leaguer, one of the few outfielders in our system with any potential.

    So, in this transaction, the Rays gave up an outfield prospect, a pitching prospect and a major league catcher for one pitching prospect? Seems like this is the kind of trade they usually make, but the other way around. They must think a lot of this Karns kid.

  10. Gus says:

    The Rays NW/Washington State scout responsible for drafting Vettleson and Josh Sale must have some explaining to do I'd guess. Maybe the worst Rays draft picks in history, back to back, from the same scout. Do we have some Rays Index achives from their draft days to inform us who the scout was and waht he was thinking? (Genius Andy not totally off the hook here either).

    I heard management talking up Lobaton last spring. Funny how that took a turn for the worse. Moore and Archer, BTW, totally preferred throwing to Lobaton and said so repeatedly last season (very outspoken on that point for two young pitchers).

  11. Dave L says:

    From everything I read about Karns he's not MLB ready.

    He still needs to develop a change up, like Archer did as well and give us a solid year in Durham. He may get a few spot starts in 2014 ala Odorizzi last year or Archer before at best.

    This isn't a typical Rays trade since there was some blood in the water. Everyone in MLB knew Lobaton had no roster spot barring a March injury. The only reason we got anything is--- he plays catcher.

    Apparently the Rays gave up on Rivero and Vettleson. It will be at least 2-4 years before we know if this was a good trade.

    Lobaton is 29 he isn't young. He came here as a catcher when he was 18 so it isn;'t like his deficiencies are going to get better.

    With Price turning 29 midseason and all the other guys 23-27 we need veteran game managers.

    From a defensive standpoint we have definitey upgraded the position in 2014.

    • Gus says:

      Even if Hannigan>Lobaton's defense (which it should be), I'm not sure that the 2014 Molina>2013 Molina. In fact Molina's deteroitation was so rapid last year, I'm not sure if he can play 50 games in 2014 (which may be good). Limit Molina to Price's starts and the occasional day game after a tough night game, maybe we are on to something. Otherwise, the defense at catcher is still the biggest question mark. Unless he was hiding an injury in 2013, it may be that Molina just can't play anymore.

      • Dave L says:

        Look at it another way.

        Molina was asked to catch way more innings in his last 2 years with the Rays at age 37 and 38 than he had at any of his previous 14 years in the most grueling position in the game. More than any 3 year stretch even.

        Lobaton was not able to take take innings from that guy? Molina was a career #2 catcher who was forced into being a #1 by default.

        With Hanigan installed JoMo will finish his career as a true #2 again. If Ryans health holds up look to Molina to start half or less the games he did in 2013. I hope he will be more effective with a greatly reduced role.

        Health is the key with these 2 of course. There is no #3 waiting in the wings


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