MLB Rumors: Colorado Rockies interested in Jose Lobaton?
By Hayden Kane
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
We haven’t heard anything confusing from the Colorado Rockies front office in a while. In case that was starting to make you feel weird, we’ve got you covered with this rumor.
The Rockies are reportedly one of the teams interested in trading for Tampa Bay Rays’ catcher Jose Lobaton. From Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
"Teams with reported interest in Lobaton, or a need, include the D-backs, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Mets and Nationals.Lobaton is expendable as the Rays have newly acquired Ryan Hanigan and veteran Jose Molina under long term deals."
While those are both solid catchers, I’m not sure it makes Lobaton “expendable,” especially because that isn’t usually how the Rays roll. But if he is available, does he make sense for the Rockies?
On the offensive side of things, Lobaton showed promise in 2013. In 100 games he batted .249/.320/.394, not to mention his heroic home run in the playoffs against the Boston Red Sox. At age 29, he is under team control for a number of years (through 2018).
The problem for Lobaton, a guy long dubbed the “catcher of the future in Tampa Bay,” is his defense.
Steve Adams of MLBTradeRumors rounded up some of the assessments of his defense, so I will defer to him:
"While Lobaton is a solid, controllable bat — he is a Super Two player that is not eligible for free agency until the 2017-18 offseason — at a thin position, he also comes with some defensive question marks. Lobaton has caught just 16 percent of attempted base stealers in his career and was below average at blocking pitches in the dirt in 2013 (per Fangraphs). While he’s not a poor pitch-framer, he also doesn’t add significant value in that department, either (per Matthew Carruth’s work at StatCorner).”"
The Colorado Rockies already have two of that kind of catcher, with Wilin Rosario a far better hitter and Jordan Pacheco slotted to back him up. It made sense for the Rockies to pursue guys like Carlos Ruiz, those who would bring stability defensively behind the plate. It makes no sense for them to eye Lobaton, especially because they would have to give up value in a trade to get him.
In a way, I feel better though. This is probably just a harmless rumor, but the order in my world is restored now that the front office has confused me again.