The Tigers announced that they have designated left-hander Kyle Lobstein for assignment in order to clear a space on the 40-man roster for utility man Mike Aviles, whose one-year, big league contract with Detroit is now official.
Lobstein, who turned 26 late in the 2015 season, has had a fairly significant role with the Tigers over the past two seasons, totaling 103 innings across 20 appearances, 17 of which came out of the rotation. His results haven’t been great — a 5.33 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 — but he has capably soaked up innings as the Detroit rotation battled through injuries. He’s struggled due to an inability to miss bats, as evidenced by the low strikeout rate and the fact that he’s yielded 113 hits in those 103 innings.
Nonetheless, there’s reason to believe that Lobstein could be effective in a different role. He’s shown the ability to work multiple innings, which would have value in the bullpen, and he’s held left-handed batters to a paltry .234/.307/.321 batting line to this point in his Major League career. Lobstein has a 3.19 FIP and 3.41 xFIP against same-handed batter, so some clubs could potentially look at him as a bullpen piece. Lobstein also has a 4.08 ERA in 236 innings at Triple-A, where he’s averaged 7.8 strikeouts and 2.9 walks per nine innings pitched, so he’s also a nice enough depth piece for the Tigers (or another club) if he ultimately clears waivers and finds himself outrighted to Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate in Toledo.