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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

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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