Since the Washington Nationals signed Wieters, that would mean they are more likely to start Pedro Severino in triple-A to allow him to get regular playing time. That opens the door for Lobaton to be the backup catcher.
Right now, I don’t think the Washington Nationals are going to keep all three catchers. It makes more sense for them to keep Lobaton over Derek Norris since Norris can probably get back more in a trade and Lobaton has more experience catching this rotation.
Lobaton did play in only 39 games last season, but you could make the case his Game 2 home run against Rich Hill was one of the biggest home runs the Washington Nationals had last season. Plus, he did .323 over his final 31 at-bats of the regular season.
It’s clear when you watch Lobaton catch that the starting pitchers love throwing to him. The main pitcher that he catches often is Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez got off to a good start last season when Lobaton was behind the plate, but then Baker switched it up and put Wilson Ramos there for a May outing against the New York Mets.
This season, Lobaton will be making over $1.5 million and that’s a good deal for the Washington Nationals. He has the knowledge to catch the talented starting rotation and he isn’t a bad option to have to hit once or twice a week because he can occasionally come up big in the clutch.
The Washington Nationals have some talented young catchers in the organization when you consider Severino, Spencer Kieboom, and Raudy Read. But, for a team looking to win now and accomplish its goals in 2017, Lobaton makes sense as the team’s backup catcher because of his veteran presence.