Tigers Trade Curt Casali to Rays; Retain Kyle Lobstein

USA TODAY Sports

It was announced today that the Tigers have traded catching prospect Curt Casali to the Tampa Bay Rays as compensation for keeping Rule 5 selection Kyle Lobstein.

The Tigers have traded Curt Casali to the Rays for the right to keep Kyle Lobstein, originally acquired via the Rule 5 draft. Lobstein would have had to spend the entire season on the 25 man roster, and since he would not have made the team out of spring training, the Tigers sent Casali to the Rays in lieu of returning Lobstein to them.

Casali was drafted in the 10th round of the 2011 draft out of Vanderbilt, and spent the 2012 season between Class A-West Michigan and Class A Advanced-Lakeland. Combined in 2012, he posted a .792 OPS with 9 HR's and 43 RBIs. He struck out only 11.9% of the time, while walking 9.9% of the time. I ranked Casali as the 23rd best prospect in the Tigers' organization back in January, behind only James McCann as far as catching prospects go. To sum up, Casali is a defense-first catcher with good skills behind the plate. He has good game managing skills, does a good job framing pitches, and overall has an above-average defensive profile to go with his above-average arm. He has a very good approach at the plate, as evidence by his low strikeout numbers. He has some pop, but nothing above average. Overall, he profiled as a good backup catcher or maybe a fringy starter for a weaker team.

Lobstein, acquired from the Rays, is a touch and feel lefthander with a fringy fastball. The Tigers hoped that he would fill the long reliever role in the bullpen, but obviously he didn't do very well in spring training. He has the ability to miss some bats, but his command was off all spring, leading to him getting hit around pretty frequently.

The Tigers announced that they have optioned Lobstein to Class Double A-Erie, where I presume he will be in the starting rotation, considering he has been a starter throughout his career in the minors.

Overall, this is a decent deal in my view. Casali, while being a better prospect than Bryan Holaday, was still behind him on the depth chart. He's not a better prospect than James McCann, and was still behind him on the depth chart as well. Add in the recent acquisition of Ramon Cabrera (I like Casali better, to be sure), and the Tigers were able to acquire some (eventual) starting pitching depth for a prospect from a position of relative depth in the system. I hate to lose a quality catching prospect, but with a couple of them closer to the big leagues, the trade doesn't sting much.

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