Cubs Sign C Jose Lobaton to Minors Deal, He Will Join 60-Man Pool in South Bend
The Cubs made a low-key depth move Wednesday by adding journeyman catcher Jose Lobaton to their 60-man player pool with a minor league deal. The 35-year-old has spent parts of nine seasons with the Padres, Rays, Nationals, and Mets and is pretty much the definition of a glove-first backstop. Kudos to our friends at Bleacher Nation for spotting this on the MLB transactions page last night.
Even though Lobaton’s reputation as a defensive specialist has lost a little shine over the last two seasons, he’s still an experienced catcher for a team that may need a little help at that position. Only three of the five catchers already on the roster have MLB experience, and Victor Caratini may be called upon to man first base in the event that Anthony Rizzo isn’t ready to go by the time the season starts.
This move is precisely why the Cubs named only 50 men to the player pool when it was first announced, leaving plenty of room for outside additions as needed. Several of those empty spots have already been filled by pitching prospects who might be able to help out in a pinch, but Lobaton is a much more expendable last resort should things go south with Rizzo or another of the catchers.
A career .215 hitter with a 70 wRC+ and 21 homers in 1,278 plate appearances, this isn’t a guy who’s going to replace the offensive production of even Josh Phegley. However, Lobaton has some experience with veteran pitching staffs from his time in Washington and New York and can be expected to step right into the mix should it be required.
Should it not be required, he’ll simply be released and replaced on the 60-man.