Pirates Acquire LHP Kyle Lobstein From Detroit

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.

  • According to the Pitch F/X data at Fangraphs people hit .133 against his curve last year. If he can command it at all, that is a huge good sign that he can be an effective LOOGY.

  • HartHighPirate
    December 22, 2015 3:18 am

    Age 26 this LHP may turn out a good AAA reliever. Will be an interesting watch in Spring Training.


  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 21, 2015 11:08 pm

    This guy doesn’t even belong in the Altoona rotation…did you look at his career minor league stats? A plus 5 career ERA…

    • This is roster churning and unexciting. I am of the opinion that the opening day payroll target has been slashed. Seven Springs and Hidden Valley are losing at least 35 days of business due to unprecedented rain and warm temperatures. The slopes are still closed with heavy rain predicted. That is an estimated $17-20 million loss in revenue, and a very large negative cash burn.

  • Tim … It now looks like about $47.5 million is roughly the total for pitchers on the 40-man roster (based on your 40-man page which I love!). Two questions:
    – do you know if the budget is usually 50/50 between pitchers/hitters?
    – do you know what the 2015 cost for pitching was?

  • Volquez

  • Roethlisberger seems to throw pretty well. Might provide rotation depth.

  • On a separate note… I’d love to get some of you guys together for a fantasy baseball draft this yr if there’s interest from our group as we get into the new yr over the next month or so to start putting it together!

    • Salary Cap NL league I’m interested

    • Maybe try the fantasy invite *before* the I’m-smarter-than-you post next time? 😉

      • Hmm, sorry NMR… Didn’t know giving an opinion meant me saying I’m smarter than anyone. If that’s the case, you must feel like a Harvard graduate compared to me. Lol

  • Where is the magical organization who has 12 SPs who are ML ready between ML and AAA? I’m all for bashing some other moves, or lack thereof, and things from the front office but some of you just try to pile on the stupid things. Every organization has SPs like this. Every organization makes moves like this. It’s not about magic or make him a Cy Young winner…it’s a depth move. A move even the Dodgers, Yanks, Red Sox, Cubs make… Because shocker… The Cubbies pulled one from our “scrap heap” last year and he gave them some quality starts.

  • As of right now this f**cking guy is the 6th starter….Please explain this off-season.

    • Tim just did

    • Incomplete

      • ” Incomplete” May describe the off-season but it is obvious that this team has no interest in pursuing MLB talent and that its “plan” is only a “hope” its dumpster diving turns up a serviceable reclamation project.

        This team hardly is “all in” as it claims.
        Matt Latos, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake are ignored by the Pirates. Mike Leake likely is going to the Cardinals, and we get Vogelsong. Embarrassing.

        • Because guys aren’t signed, they are ignored?? Makes perfect sense. Not!

          • please share what you have heard about the Pirates contacts with Kazmir, Leake or Latos. We have heard about them talking to Masterson, and Arroyo. With the plethora of sites devoted to rumors and possible moves, the absence mention of mention of any contact with the guys I mentioned does indeed indicate they have been ignored. Please share any information you have to the contrary.

    • Re-tooling.

  • He wasn’t a big strikeout pitcher per se, however he struck out 10 in 5 innings v.s. Cleveland… with what appears to be a very nice slider and a cutter that completely fools hitters, his change seems average and so basically he’d have to pitch backwards. In short stints though that slider and cutter could be very strong pitches in relief.

  • This kid was a 2nd round pick, but he just never developed it seems. His fastball is 87… which is worse than Paul Maholm… Now if you look at him as a Loogy, which you should and NOT a starter, then fastball doesn’t really matter its the quality of his offspeed stuff, like our old friend Javier Lopez… 84 he tops out but his slider is great against same side.

  • Hey Lobstein get over here and throw batting practice! And bring your glasses!

  • 2.94 FIP vs lefties, 5.84 FIP vs righties. Bullpen lefty specialist?

  • Another big move by the Pirates

  • Finally.

  • Prediction freddy sanchez filed his retirement paperwork today. The pirates will sign him to a one day contract to retire a pirate then decide to keep him until kang returns hahaha!!!

    Sorry just frustrated lol. Seriously though they should sign him for a day to retire a bucco

  • If it means anything, the Tigers’ fans who have commented on the story over at MLB Trade Rumors seem upset to have lost him.

    “Lobster Butter is a an example of a guy who is a better player than his
    stats. He ate innings for Verlander when he was injured and was involved
    in some important games. Would be best as a reliever at this point.”

    “Man, this blows. I know his stats weren’t the best, but he can and will
    be productive in the majors if the team will use him right.”

    “Good move by the Pirates. Lobstein has talent and in the right roll can be quite effective.”

  • Rock Lobstein {Lobstein}
    Rock Lobstein {Lobstein}

    BMTIB were at the beach.
    Everybody had matching towels.
    Huntington walked under a dock.
    And there he saw a rock.
    Only it wasn’t a rock.
    It was ROCK LOB-STEIN.

  • This guy won’t see PNC next year.

  • I figured out what they are doing they are playing crappy pitcher bingo. Here’s how it works.
    Any pitcher who has either:
    1. Played with us before
    2. Have ever thrown a pitch that resulted in a ground ball
    3. Had one year of just above average ball
    4. Could not stay in a rotation for a whole year

    Gets thrown into a hat. Whoever is picked they sign.
    Here’s holding out for:
    I- Drabek.
    New rumor is they r giving a spring training invite to blass and walk


  • There are a lot of things to scratch the head about this off season. This move isn’t one of them. A lefty, ground baller who cost nothing. At worst, filler.

    • Filler is fine when spots need filled.

      I’d rather put an actual prospect where he deserves to be than waste a spot on a shitty 8th starter.

      • I’d be shocked if this guy was in the rotation, he’s going to be in Indy. Maybe used as a reliever.

        • The Indy rotation is what I’m talking about. They’re going to be keeping an actual prospects in Altoona just so that this guy can take up a rotation spot.

          • That’s not a big deal. The guy who gets held back will be up in the second half, and wasn’t going to be a strong bet to make the majors this year anyway.

            I’m guessing it’s Brault or Williams. If the Pirates get to the point where they need those two this year, then the team is in serious trouble. And if that did happen, it would mean a bunch of injuries and they’d be moved up to Indianapolis early in the year.

      • Not disagreeing,,,,just saying, this was a minor move. Try him out, kick the tires, if there’s nothing there…nothing lost. After all, they could’ve traded a AAA OF and 2nd round pick to get someone like this…

        • But he does nothing to replace the nearly half dozen WAR they lost with Burnett/Happ. That’s been the issue since Thanksgiving.

          • I don’t think his acquisition was meant to do so. While I’m scratching my head over what’s happened in the past few weeks, I have enough faith in NH to believe he can focus on more than one type of move at a time.

            • When they let Worley go, I thought they would be acquiring superior arms. I think the argument can be made they have yet to do so.

          • If AJ and Taillon hadn’t gotten hurt they would never have acquired Happ, and almost half that lost WAR. And Taillon would have been pencilled in for this year’s rotation.

            • But that’s how it happened. Jameson Taillon is not performing at a 5 WAR level. Jameson Taillon AND Glasnow are not giving them 5 WAR. Cole gave them 1.3 his first year.

        • Oh no he didn’t! 😉

      • I prefer back fill. You can say Back Filler.

  • Looks to me like nobody here paid one bit of attention to Tim’s explanation. SMFH….

  • In Searage we trust…

  • It’s another move that’s not bad by itself. Still waiting for something good though.

  • If you remove his three appearances against the Twins in 2015 his ERA drops from 5.94 to a respectable 4.27. Surely a fluky thing, but if you drop the Twins from his 2014 appearances his ERA drops from 4. 35 to 3.10.

    Just don’t pitch him against the Twins and he’s a serviceable back-of-the-rotation lefty.

    • Tired of servicable back of the rotation types. As Tim suggests, hopefully, we can land a solid, middle of the rotation starter.

    • If you remove lockes numbers third time through order he is a cy young candidate, you can do that with anyone

      • Which is why I have never understood why some starters aren’t “piggybacked”. Two times through the rotation for each of them and then off to the closer. Might work better than having a long man who seldom pitches.

  • start printing playoff ticket.

  • To me, this says Locke is on his way out…

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      December 21, 2015 2:48 pm

      Locke is Warren Spahn compared to this guy…

      • Maybe so, but theres no spot for Locke down the road. I cant see him being a reliever.

        • If they had brought in some decent starting pitching, I’d LOVE to see Locke tried as a reliever. He can hit 94 from the left side as starter. but struggles 3rd time through the order. That could play well in relief.

          • They could trade locke and get back a good lefty middleman AND a solid prospect. Waste ti demote him just because teams good. Thats what hapened to Niese last year

        • Keep in mind locke will make 1/4 what Morton does is controlled for a couple more years, younger, oh and staistically a lot better past 3 years and yet… phils took all salary and sent over a legit C- prospect

          Locke is average. We are just a lot better than average.

        • What is your thinking on that?

      • Nice!!

      • Lol. Locke and Warren Spahn in the same sentence. Totally worth the price of subscription.

    • Well it doesn’t because you wouldn’t replace Locke with someone worse. Lobstein is filler/depth and a young lefty that maybe they can make slightly better…or who can be effective in Sept as a lefty out of pen.

    • Doubt it. Probably a minor league AAA depth signing for use only in case of a plague of injuries at the MLB level. Don’t think he’s in the mix to start in Pittsburgh.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 21, 2015 2:47 pm

    more garbage…

    • You are the best example of garbage I’ve seen on this site. Mr. Clueless calling any player garbage. Clown.

      • C’mon Leo…be nice.

        • Leo may not be nice – but his comment was 100% accurate.

          • Was it? What knowledge did Mr. Leowalter bring to the conversation other then demeaning another poster who posted his thoughts? If you don’t agree either add something constructive or just ignore it. Bashing someone else is childish.

        • It’s to close to Christmas-lots of name calling. I think since Smizik retired a lot of the intense posted traversed to PP.

          • I think you are right. The tone here seems more miserable and whiney this year. I apparently get extra points if I call someone cheap?

      • Are you disputing the fact that Lobstein is not a good pitcher?

        Because he is quite literally the 3RD pitcher they acquired that was removed from a rotation because he stunk. There’s your clowns Leo.

  • Former top 10 Rays prospect in 2010, grabbed in the rule V draft by the Mets in 2012. High 80s fastball, throws 4 pitches, so far all below average. Gets ground balls.

  • PiratesFan1975
    December 21, 2015 2:42 pm

    Soft tossing lefty….. young Jon Niese. haha

  • I first read his last name as lobster. That would be a better name than Lobstein. If Nutting invested more money, they’d have a lobster on their team. :kicks dirt, slowly walks away with head down: