O's acquire Kyle Lobstein in attempt to strengthen bullpen for playoff run - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

O’s acquire Kyle Lobstein in attempt to strengthen bullpen for playoff run

lobstein

On the last day to acquire players that can be used in the postseason, the Orioles made a move Wednesday afternoon aimed at improving the club’s bullpen for the stretch run.

The Orioles sent minor-league left-hander Zach Phillips, 29, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 27-year-old lefty Kyle Lobstein, who had been designated for assignment Tuesday.

To make room for Lobstein on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated lefty Ashur Tolliver, 28, for assignment. Tolliver had allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings this season for the Orioles. Phillips had a 4.45 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk and hadn’t pitched for the Orioles in 2016.

In essence, this series of moves means the club potentially gave up two lefty relievers for one. But Lobstein is a little younger than the other two and has had some success getting out lefties in the majors.

A former second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, Lobstein was 2-0 with a 3.96 ERA in 14 games with the Pirates this year and 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 19 games (six starts) with Triple-A Indianapolis.

Most important for the Orioles, left-handed hitters were just 2-for-24 (.083 average) against Lobstein in his time with the Pirates this season.

The Orioles have been looking for an effective left-handed specialist all year. Lobstein will be given a chance to handle that role – and another lefty, Brian Duensing, should be back from injury in early September.

Rookie Donnie Hart also will be in the competition to be the club’s primary left-handed specialist as the playoffs near. All three would be postseason eligible.

If the Orioles acquire someone from outside the organization after 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, that player would not be postseason eligible.

Once again, this is a typical, under-the-radar move by Dan Duquette in August. It may mean nothing, or it may be the addition of a fairly important bullpen piece.

The flip side is Phillips was not in the club’s plans this year or in the future, so the risk is minimal.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. JustWin8

    August 31, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Donny Hart seems to be doing a fine job. Don’t see the need for another left hand specialist in the bullpen

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 31, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Well, I agree that Hart has done well enough to justify his spot on the roster, but having another lefty specialist seems like a no-brainer considering the rosters are about to expand. Can’t hurt can it?

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