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UPDATE: Moore, Lobaton avoid arbitration with 1-year deals

Dec 2, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT

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Updated at 6:19 p.m.

The Nationals agreed to terms on 1-year contracts with Tyler Moore and Jose Lobaton, avoiding arbitration and assuring neither bench player would be non-tendered before Wednesday night’s deadline.

Moore’s deal is for $900,000, according to Lobaton’s deal is for $1.3875 million, according to the Washington Post.

The pair of settlements come on the day all MLB clubs must decide whether to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players (the deadline is midnight EST). The Nationals have eight such players, though most were locks to be tendered: Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Wilson Ramos, Anthony Rendon, Danny Espinosa and Lobaton. Moore and reliever Craig Stammen (who missed nearly the entire 2015 season following arm surgery) were the only candidates potentially to be non-tendered.

Moore faced an uncertain future with the organization after a disappointing season in which the 28-year-old hit just .203 with six homers, 27 RBI, a .250 on-base percentage and .614 OPS in 97 games. He particularly struggled when coming off the bench, with only five hits in 46 pinch-hit at-bats.

Given the fact he already was out of minor-league options throughout 2015, not to mention the emergence of Clint Robinson as a left-handed backup first baseman and corner outfielder, Moore was facing a career crossroads with the Nationals, who drafted him in 2008. In the end, the club chose to retain him on the $900,000 deal, slightly less than the $1 million he was projected to earn via arbitration (according to MLB Trade Rumors’ annual estimates).

Wednesday’s tendered contract doesn’t guarantee Moore actually makes the Nationals’ 2016 roster. The club could seek to trade him this winter to another team seeking a right-handed bat. Moore also would be a candidate to be released during spring training; if released more than 15 days before the season opener, the Nationals would be responsible only for one-sixth of Moore’s salary.

Lobaton, entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, gets a modest raise from his $1.2 million salary in 2015. The 31-year-old backup catcher struggled offensively this season, hitting a scant .199 with three homers, 20 RBI, a .279 on-base percentage and .573 OPS in 44 games. Members of the Nationals pitching staff, though, still give Lobaton strong reviews for his work behind the plate.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 2, 2015 at 1:04 PM

    Simple enough move. I still don’t expect Tyler Moore to be on the Nats roster come April.

    Re Jose Labaton, I noticed that MLBTR listed him as a potential non-tender, while this post suggests he’s a lock.

  2. Dave - Dec 2, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    Surely they will tender Stammen a contract, or?

    • ArVAFan - Dec 2, 2015 at 1:19 PM

      They have the medical data, we don’t. Just have to wait and see: if he’s tendered a contract, I’ll be glad to see him back in the bullpen. If they don’t, given the otherwise uncertain status of practically everyone in the bullpen, that will say volumes about his recovery (or lack thereof). So I’m really hoping they do give him a contract.

      • sjm308 - Dec 2, 2015 at 1:49 PM

        Nice interview with Stammen over at MASN with Byron Kerr. He has started throwing but not off a mound. Sounds very positive and he projects some leadership that this team absolutely needs.

      • ArVAFan - Dec 2, 2015 at 2:24 PM

        Well, that makes two things he could provide that the Nats need in the bullpen: effective leadership and dependable pitching. Here’s hoping!

  3. mauimo22 - Dec 2, 2015 at 3:34 PM

    Does anyone remember TyMo’s breakout game? I do. We need to find that guy again. Dude can hit and he’s serviceable at 1B but I also like that other guy.

    • natsguy - Dec 2, 2015 at 6:29 PM

      Dude can hit fastballs, put a wrinkle on it and he’s dead.

  4. jfmii - Dec 2, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    Hard to imagine TyMo in the Nationals’ dugout in April

  5. hummel26 - Dec 2, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    Why are we giving him any money whatsoever? Seriously, his window has closed.

    • ArVAFan - Dec 2, 2015 at 4:22 PM

      Just guessing here: trade chip. “as in ‘oh, yeah, and we’ll throw in T-Mo to sweeten the deal.'” Otherwise, I expect he’s gone before they have to pay him more than the 1/6 of that $900,000. But the 1/6? That’s a chance worth taking, just in case either (1) he’s part of a trade package over the winter, or (2) things go very well for him or very badly for others in Spring Training.

      • virginiascopist - Dec 2, 2015 at 4:25 PM

        Absolutely, he’s a trade chip and I fully expect Rizzo to throw him in as part of a package to obtain something we need in return. Of course, I predicted that last winter as well, but this time I really mean it.

      • letsallbaseball - Dec 2, 2015 at 4:42 PM

        He had a pretty good spring training coming off a great winterball campaign last year and unfortunately it did not translate into much during the regular season.

      • nataddicted - Dec 2, 2015 at 5:54 PM

        Hi Everyone, When I saw Tyler Moore in ST he was seriously seeing the ball well. So yeah, he had it coming out of winter ball, but it didn’t happen the same way after he came north.

  6. slidell2 - Dec 2, 2015 at 4:31 PM

    $150,000 to play baseball for a month in the Florida sun? Sounds like a good deal to me. Worse case scenario- enough to buy a mess of beeves for his farm in Mississippi.

  7. Section 222 - Dec 2, 2015 at 4:59 PM

    I’ve long since thought TyMo’s time had passed, but I have no problem with signing him:

    1. He’s an inexpensive addition to possible trade.
    2. He’s short term insurance should Zim or CRob get injured in spring training and not be able to come north.
    3. He’s a stopgap solution as a bench player should the Nats not have 5 healthy OFs for the O.D. roster. Right now, they have four — Bryce, MAT, Werth, and MattdD. Not that I’d ever want to see TyMo (or CRob) play the OF again, but if there’s no one better for the “big hairy RH pinch hitter” that Davey Johnson wanted on the bench, TyMo can play that part.
    4. He can be Pattersoned at the bargain price of $150K, if 1, 2, or 3, don’t come to pass. See Row 16 of the NIDO Glossary at:

    • veejh - Dec 2, 2015 at 7:52 PM

      Hey, don’t pick on John!

      • Section 222 - Dec 3, 2015 at 8:12 AM

        He lives on in our Insider jargon!

  8. langleyclub - Dec 2, 2015 at 5:04 PM

    Love TyMo, but absent knowledge that Ryan Zimmerman will likely not be ready to play to start the season, Moore has no role with this team.

    The roster is overloaded with right-handed bats that strike out too much, and Moore is below average defensive first-baseman, and substantially below average OF. He also has no speed; so his value off the bench is limited to nil. Clint Robinson is left-handed and better hitter. So, he is RZ’s backup -not Moore.

    Moore has major power potential. He needs to find an AL team with a need for right-handed power bat. Very possible that he could have a Steve Pearce 2014 type of year with an AL team, but he adds nothing to the Nats current roster.

  9. janebeard - Dec 2, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    Love TyMo too, And I hope he gets traded somewhere where he can be an everyday player, He deserves it.I agree the AL is his place.

  10. mwgchess - Dec 3, 2015 at 1:39 AM

    So how long till we get O’day and some other good reliever? Hopefully the Reds price for Chapman will decrease soon.





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