According to Detroit Tigers’ Media Relations Director Brian Britten, the Detroit Tigers have agreed to a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays that will allow them to retain the rights to Rule 5 draftee Kyle Lobstein.
— Brian Britten (@BBritten_Tigers) March 25, 2013
Lobstein, as a Rule 5 player, would have needed to stay on the Tigers’ active (25-man) roster for an entire year before the team would be allowed to send him to the minor leagues, but this trade with the Rays allows Detroit to retain his full rights and demote him right away.
It had seemed apparent for a couple of weeks now that Lobstein wouldn’t be making the team, so the question was whether they’d be able to work out a trade or simply have to send him back (as they did with Jeff Kobernus and the Washington Nationals). It is a little bit surprising that the Tigers were willing to part with a quality catcher such as Curt Casali to facilitate this deal, but it’s a position of relative strength for the organization. Though, looking back, (basically) trading Andy Oliver and Curt Casali for Kyle Lobstein and Ramon Cabrera doesn’t immediately strike me as a quality deal.
Casali was probably the guy in the minor leagues that I was personally highest on (above James McCann and Bryan Holaday), so I’m disappointed to see him go, but the reality is that the Tigers – who have a still young Alex Avila in the majors – probably won’t be needing a catcher to develop any time soon. Still, this feels a little bit like an overpay (but maybe that’s just me not seeing how Lobstein develops into something useful for the Tigers in the future).
Casali hit .270/.365/.427 in 385 plate appearances last season between West Michigan and Lakeland.