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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their back-to-back American League Central titles.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tigers swing deal with Rays to keep Lobstein


For a long while, it looked like one of the two Rule 5 draft acquisitions was going to stick around with the Detroit Tigers. In the end, the other one did.

Just two days after offering IF/OF Jeff Kobernus back to the Washington Nationals, the Tigers swung a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to keep left-handed pitcher Kyle Lobstein. Both players were acquired by trade in the aftermath of the Rule 5 draft in December.

Kobernus looked like he had a shot to stick around with the team as a right-handed-hitting outfielder for a while, but was offered back to the Nats on Saturday. While the Tigers weren't going to carry Lobstein as a situational lefty (Darin Downs has all but locked that job down, with an 0.71 ERA this spring), the organization saw promise in the former second-round pick of the Rays as organizational starting pitching depth.

So the Tigers traded from a position of strength, sending minor-league catcher Curt Casali (a 10th-round pick in 2011) to the Rays for the rights to keep Lobstein. Afterward, the Tigers optioned the 23-year-old Lobstein to Double-A Erie. He'd spent all of 2012 at Double-A Montgomery in the Rays' system last year, going 8-7 as a starter with a 4.06 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 144 innings.

This spring with the Tigers, Lobstein had a 7.50 ERA in 12 innings of work, striking out 10, walking six, and allowing a .353 batting average against. Casali appeared in seven games this spring, hitting .125.

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