The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired left-handed pitcher Kyle Lobstein from the Tigers in exchange for cash considerations. Lobstein was recently designated for assignment by Detroit, following a year where he made 11 starts for them in the majors, then spent several months on the disabled list.
Lobstein doesn’t have great numbers in the majors over the last two years, with a 5.33 ERA and a 4.51 xFIP. He’s a ground ball pitcher, with a 49.7% rate, but doesn’t get many strikeouts, with a 5.16 K/9. He does have two option years remaining, so expect him to start the year in Triple-A pitching out of the rotation, and providing early season rotation depth. There’s also the possibility that he could be used as lefty relief depth, although the Pirates have more of a need for starters right now.
As I wrote this morning, I don’t think the Pirates are done adding to their rotation. Last year they started the season with ten pitchers who could contribute to the rotation in some capacity on Opening Day. That didn’t include the prospects they were counting on by mid-season. Lobstein looks like nothing more than rotation depth for the start of the year, since most of the guys in Indianapolis won’t be ready for the majors in April or May.
This move is pretty much a replacement for Brandon Cumpton and Casey Sadler. Both were being used the last two years as early season rotation depth out of Indianapolis, and neither had an upside that was better than this on a contending team. So this move isn’t going to be exciting, and it’s not going to strengthen the Opening Day rotation. However, it will add some depth in case things get really bad in the injury department early in the season.