Rays trade Jose Lobaton to Nationals for Nate Karns

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The rumored trade between Tampa Bay and Washington is a reality, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have traded catcher Jose Lobaton and two unnamed minor leaguers to the Nationals for pitching prospect Nate Karns.

Lobaton became expendable following the Rays’ trade for Ryan Hanigan earlier this offseason and he’ll join the Nationals as a backup for Wilson Ramos. Washington has spent all winter acquiring potential backup catchers, so they clearly felt having a reliable option behind Ramos on the depth chart was very important. Lobaton is a 29-year-old career .228 hitter with a .654 OPS.

Karns made his MLB debut last season at age 25 after throwing 133 innings with a 3.26 ERA and impressive 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings at Double-A. For his career he has 362 strikeouts in 304 innings as a minor leaguer and the Rays are always looking to add young pitching to keep things churning despite low payrolls. Baseball America recently named Karns as the ninth-best prospect in the Nationals’ farm system.

Report: Brewers to sign Brock Holt

Brock Holt
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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers have signed infielder Brock Holt. Contract details are not yet known.

Holt, 31, spent most of the last six years as a part-time player with the Red Sox, playing a little bit of a lot of positions. Last year, he hit .297/.369/.402 with 19 extra-base hits, 31 RBI, and 38 runs scored in 295 plate appearances. He spent a majority of his time at second base but also logged time at first base, shortstop, third base, and both corner outfield spots.

It will be interesting to see how the Brewers deploy Holt. His best chances at playing time would figure to be at third base and shortstop.