The White Sox need a catcher to step up or find one. The White Sox played the 2013 season with three different catchers, two of which were rookies. It sounds like they weren’t content with what they saw. Who can really blame them though?
They started the season with Tyler Flowers, who tanked to a .195 average. Then Hector Gimenez stepped in as a backup and only came up with a .191 batting average. He was sent down to the minors by the All Star break. Josh Phegley stepped into the role next, took over the starting catcher position and proceeded to only manage a .206 average. So needless to say they need an upgrade at the position.
According to MLB Trade Rumors’ Steve Adams, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Times is reporting that the Tampa Rays are listening to offers for their catcher Jose Lobaton.
Lobaton, a switch hitting catcher, batted .249 last season as well as a .320 on base percentage. He had 7 homeruns in 277 at bats, plating 32 RBI. If he could match these numbers he’d be a definitely upgrade compared to who the Sox played with last year. It would also help with the lack of left handed hitters on a mostly right handed roster.
According to Adams, Lobaton has some defensive issues. He brings up the fact that he only threw out 16 percent of attempted base stealers and had a hard time blocking pitches in the dirt.
Catching around the league hasn’t been anything too special as of late especially when it comes to offense. The White Sox are going to have to look in a mirror and tell themselves we have three catchers that can’t bat higher than .210, and aren’t throwing runners out at a 50 percent average anyways. So depending what the Rays want in return, the Sox need to consider pulling the string on this trade.
It would give you a 29 year old catcher who can hit a middle of the road average, will be patient at the plate and isn’t going to hurt any worse than what they have defensive anyways. They could send Phegley and Gimenez back to the minors to get playing time, and use Tyler Flowers as the backup.
The Sox would have to consider this pretty quick because the Sox are not alone in the trade talks. According to Adams article, the Diamondbacks, Indians, Rockies, Mets and Nationals all are teams with interest or need at the catcher position. Also, Lobaton’s contract is controllable until the 2017-18 offense.