Both of the Tigers’ Rule 5 draft picks know which organization they’ll play for to begin 2013. Second baseman Jeff Kobernus cleared waivers and returned to the Nationals on March 23, while lefthander Kyle Lobstein will stay with Detroit following a trade with the Rays, his previous organization. The Tigers dealt 24-year-old catcher Curt Casali to Tampa Bay to retain Lobstein, whom they immediately outrighted to Double-A Erie.
Each year at least one club works out a trade to obtain full rights to its Rule 5 pick. That way the club can option the player to the minors rather than carry him on the 25-man roster all season. Some recent examples: Last year the Diamondbacks traded to keep righthander Brett Lorin, the Twins made a deal to keep lefty Scott Diamond in 2011 and the Brewers worked out an arrangement to keep lefty Chuck Lofgren in 2010. The Diamondbacks retained catcher James Skelton and the Twins acquired righty Jason Jones, a pair of Rule 5 picks, in 2009.
Kyle Lobstein, lhp
Age: 23. Born: Aug 12, 1989 in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Coconino HS, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Career Transactions: Selected by Rays in second round of 2008 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2008 … Selected by Mets from Rays in Rule 5 major league draft, Dec. 6, 2012 … Sold by Mets to Tigers, Dec. 6, 2012.
Lobstein worked 12 innings for the Tigers during spring training, allowing 12 runs on 18 hits (including three home runs) to go with a 10-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Detroit likes his combination of high-80s fastball and plus changeup, but they’d like him to develop his breaking ball in Double-A.
Curt Casali, c
Age: 24. Born: Nov 9, 1988 in New Canaan, Conn.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Tigers in 10th round of 2011 draft; signed July 1, 2011.
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By Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski’s estimation, Casali will “play in the big leagues,” perhaps as a backup unless his bat improves. He drew raves for his receiving and game-calling while at Vanderbilt. Detroit is two-deep at catcher from the big leagues (Alex Avila, Brayan Pena) to Triple-A Toledo (Bryan Holaday, Brad Davis) to Double-A Erie (James McCann, Ramon Cabrera), affording the organization the luxury to swing a trade for pitching depth.