WASHINGTON -- Even though the Nationals signed catcher Koyie Hill to a Minor League deal on Wednesday, they are still looking for a backup catcher.
MLB.com has learned that the Nats 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 that Tampa Bay would like to replenish its 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 Tampa Bay 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 Nats already have seven catchers on their Spring Training roster, including Chris Snyder, Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.