MLB.com has learned that the Nationals are interested in Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jose Lobaton, and the two clubs have been talking for a least a month. However, the teams can't agree on the players the Rays would receive in the deal, although it's known the Rays would like to replenish their farm system.
The Rays are not in a rush to trade Lobaton. A person familiar to the situation said Lobaton may not be traded until Spring Training. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the D-backs, Indians, Rockies, White Sox and Mets are also in the mix for Lobaton's services.
Lobaton became expendable after the Rays signed free agent Jose Molina and traded for Ryan Hanigan. Last season, Lobaton played in 100 games for the Rays and hit .249 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. He is best remembered for hitting the game-winning home run against the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
The Nationals see Lobaton as insurance in case starting catcher Wilson Ramos has to go on the disabled list. Last year, Ramos missed a significant amount of time because of hamstring problems.
The Nationals already have seven catchers on their Spring Training roster, including Chris Snyder, Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano.