Tigers acquire speedy second baseman, lefty pitcher in Rule 5 Draft

For the first time since 2008, the Tigers have selected a player in the Rule 5 Draft. For the first time since 2004, they have two. For a contending team, it’s rare.

The Tigers are getting Jeff Kobernus, a speedy second baseman out of the Nationals farm system. The Red Sox selected him in the Rule 5 Draft, then traded him to Detroit for Triple-A Toledo utilityman Justin Henry. They’re also getting left-hander Kyle Lobstein from the Rays system through a trade with the Mets, who selected them and then dealt him to Detroit for cash considerations.

Both are former second round picks, and both are guys Dave Dombrowski said they targeted going in.

You might remember the Rule 5 as a way the Tigers added prospects when Dave Dombrowski was trying to rebuild the organization years ago. They carried three Rule 5 pitchers in 2003 with Wil Ledezma, Matt Roney and Chris Spurling. In those cases, the Tigers saw upside in the future. In this case, both Kobernus and Lobstein are guys the Tigers feel can help them right now.

The 24-year-old Kobernus hit .282 with a home run, 19 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 53 attempts over 82 games at Double-A Harrisburg. He has 120 steals in 149 attempts over 290 career games. He has played almost entirely second base in his career, but the Tigers see him as a potential utility guy.

“We not only like his ability to play second, but we think that perhaps — and he hasn’t really done much of it — he could have some versatility where we might be able to move him to the outfield and get some playing time there,” Dombrowski said.

He has played very little shortstop, but he’s not an answer to the Tigers’ potential moves there.

“We didn’t really take him because we think he’s going to play shortstop,” assistant general manager Al Avila said. “We took him because he can play second, we feel he can play some outfield and he’s a pretty decent hitter. If he plays shortstop, that’s kind of icing on the cake for us.”

The 23-year-old Lobstein went 8-7 with a 4.06 ERA over 27 starts at Double-A Montgomery, striking out 129 batters over 144 innings. It’s a pretty good snapshot of his pro career over the last four seasons, but the Tigers like the stuff.

“He’s more of an average fastball guy, good breaking ball and a changeup,” Dombrowski said. “We just like him as an overall pitcher. We look at him as a guy that might be able to come in as a starter and compete, but of course we don’t look at him as ahead of the other guys. He’s a guy that would be protection and maybe a second lefty, because we do like him in that regard.”

14 Comments

DD better just get what he can get for santiago.

Worth and this new guy sound like they got this IF utility position wrapped up.

er all the utility positions. To me – OF sounds full

and the lefty, lobstein fills a need or two as well.

they’ll take a look at these guys in the spring. most rule 5ers don’t stick on the 25 man. probability of Tigers carrying both these guys is virtually nil. these guys are truly longshots
.
if they like em some but not enough to place them on 25 man, they can try to work out a trade with their parent clubs.

good to know, thanks.

yanks reportedly offering Youkilis $12 mil on a one year deal…if the market for a multiyear deal never materializes for Soriano, I could still see Tigers making a big one year offer to him. the draft pick they’d give up is a low first rounder. they also have a randomly determined bonus pick in one of the early supplemental rounds.

Somewhat perplexed by these moves, because they need to be on the 25 man roster all year. There is not much room on the Tigers roster. Kobernus may have tremendous speed, but so does QB. We do not need 2 pinch runners. And a LHP for the bullpen? Why not keep Andy Oliver or trade him for another pitcher that needs a change of scenery.
In sum, the 2004 Tigers it made sense to do this, but an AL Championship team with VMart returning and Torii Hunter, where are the spots?

Kobernus may be a better all around ballplayer than Berry, and it’s an infielder over a weak hitting outfielder. ST competition. Lobstein can be sent back to Tampa but they may not want him, then we send him to our minors.
By the way, you keep Kobernus for speed, does Boesch replace Berry? Just tossing that out there.

if so would that be an upgrade?

maybe that depends on what you find that you can get for them….almost like “trade flexibility”

I bet TB would want to keep Lobstein, since they spent a 2nd round pick on him recently. DD wants to look at him as a starter as well.

Would love to see DD swing a deal with the Padres. Padres send us Hundley, Gregerson, Guzman, Erlin and Spangenberg for Boesch, Berry, Marte, Crosby and Santiago $$$ included if necessary. Fills our holes in the pen, behind the plate, left field platoon and future 2ndbaseman. They get a #3 starter, a solid utility guy, a starting rf, a setup guy, and Berry gets to go home to SD. If Peralta is truly getting into shape and can play a rangier SS, we would have the toughest lineup in baseball.

I would have liked to see Henry get a real shot at the big club. Not sure why they switched him from second base to the outfield. He did a good job at 2nd when he played for the Whitecaps. I guess it’s a good deal, though, getting more speed and always a good gamble getting a LHP.
-Mike

http://minoringinbaseball.com/

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