Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
As the winter meetings concluded, many Detroit Tigers fans were left to wonder why team officials even showed up. The reality is that Detroit’s roster is pretty well set in stone at this point. Yes, a change at shortstop could happen, and another right-handed bat might be added to the outfield mix, but by and large, the Tigers have all hands on deck. The Tigers did make a few moves. At one-time thought to be a can’t miss prospect, lefty Andy Oliver was shipped off to Pittsburgh for minor league catcher Ramon Cabrera. Cabrera, 23, is just 5’8’’ and weighs 195 pounds. He has put up decent batting averages (.292 avg over 5 minor league seasons) but hasn’t shown any pop. He is a switch-hitter, which increases his potential value but will not threaten the major league roster out of spring training. Is there room for Quintin Berry in 2013? Aside from the Oliver deal, the Tigers acquired two players via the Rule 5 draft. Detroit shipped utility minor leaguer Justin Henry to Boston for another utility-man in return, speedster Jeff Kobernus. GM Dave Dombrowski also sent some of Mike Ilitch’s cash to the Mets in exchange for lefty pitcher Kyle Lobstein. As rule 5 pickups, both players are expected to be on the 25-man roster. If they don’t make the cut then they get sent back to their former employer. Kobernus and Lobstein are both former 2nd round draft picks who possess some immediate upside. Kobernus, 24, led the Eastern League (AA) with 42 steals in 2012, a year after nabbing 53 bags. He is a .279 career minor league hitter with a low .316 on-base %. He offers almost no extra-base pop (51 doubles, 6 triples, and 9 homers in 4 seasons) but could grab a spot on the major league roster formerly occupied by Don Kelly or Ryan Raburn. Kobernus’ addition, in theory, might make Ramon Santiago expendable and his speed might equal doom for Quintin Berry’s big league run with the Tigers. Time, and Kobernus’ spring training performance, will dictate how the Tigers play out that portion of their roster. Lobstein, 23, and a lefty starter by trade, put up good strikeout totals for AA Montgomery in ’12. He fanned 129 hitters in 144 innings of work. He has a 3.85 minor league ERA over 4 seasons with a 1.31 WHIP. He gives up a lot of hits, but has decent command. Detroit views him as spring training competition for Drew Smyly’s projected spot in the starting rotation. If Smyly wins out, which he will, Lobstein will add a 2nd lefty arm to Phil Coke’s in the Tigers’ pen. In the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, the Tigers added another speedster in 24-year old Eliezer Mesa. He will add some much needed depth to the Tigers’ minor league outfield look. So in the end, no Stephen Drew, no big and unexpected splash on the trade market, Rick Porcello and Brennan Boesch remain Tigers, just a few odds and ends that Detroit feels will make them a more complete ballclub. Drew appears to be leaning toward a 1-year deal with Oakland in an effort to rehabilitate his value and get paid out next offseason. With that in mind, how does the Tigers’ potential 25-man roster look come April? Starters (5): Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly Bullpen (7): Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Al Alburquerque, Brayan Villarreal, Phil Coke, Kyle Lobstein, Bruce Rondon Catcher (2): Alex Avila and Bryan Holaday Infield (4): Prince Fielder, Omar Infante, Jhonny Peralta, Miguel Cabrera Outfield (3): Andy Dirks, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter Bench (4): Ramon Santiago, Danny Worth, Jeff Kobernus, Brennan Boesch Potential odd men out: Quintin Berry, Avisail Garcia, Nick Castellanos, Darin Downs, Duane Below [Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe or subscribe to our Detroit Tigers Feed] None of these projections are final of course, and the bench represents the biggest area of debate. Also, some insiders at the winter meeting claimed, despite Dombrowski insisting that he isn’t, that Detroit was indeed on the prowl for a closer to round out the bullpen. When you look at the reserves though, it just doesn’t seem to make sense. Santiago, Worth, and Kobernus represent too similar of skill sets to all be on the roster together. Santiago, who is making a shockingly high $2.1M in 2013 would be a great piece for the Tigers to send packing in a low-level trade. Big decisions will also have to be made on how ready Garcia and Castellanos are, and whether splitting at-bats with Dirks is a healthy way for them to develop, or if regular minor league time would be more effective. The meat of the product is in place, the Tigers just need to figure out where to trim some fat and make this team as lean and efficient as possible. To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Nick Diaz apologizes to fans for skipping open workout

NFLPA President compares Goodell to a 2-year-old

NFL explains how Super Bowl balls will be prepped

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls being deflated

WATCH: Bruce Pearl gets warm reception in Tennessee return

WATCH: Serena Williams loses point for yelling "come on!"

Report: Missy Elliott joining Katy Perry for halftime show

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Most unexpected MLB free agent signings of past 10 years

Five most villainous Super Bowls of all time

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls

Missy Elliott to join Katy Perry at SB?

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.