Oliver, 25, got a cup of coffee with Motown in 2010-11, with a 7.11 ERA in 31-2/3 frames and equally unexciting peripherals. He's spent the last three years at AAA Toledo, mostly as a starter but with some bullpen work added in this past season, which looks like his calling - he went 1-0 with a 3.78 ERA in nine appearances out of the bullpen for the Mud Hens and 4-9 with a 5.06 ERA in 19 starts. Oliver has a pretty good farm K rate at 8.5 per nine, but those five walks per game make him a very wild child.
He was a second round pick in the 2009 draft, so fits perfectly into the Bucco once-highly-touted reclamation mold. Oliver was a top ten Tiger prospect, a candidate for their fifth starter at camp, and tosses his heat at 94 MPH, touching 98 with an average curve. But he's clueless as to where the plate is, and that's why Detroit moved him to the pen; good stuff, bad aim. The Bucs have to determine if they want him to continue his conversion to reliever or try to salvage him as a starter.
Cabrera, 23, was a good stick without any pop, with a career .292 BA and 13 HR in five minor league seasons. He's a switch hitter, and projected as an MLB back-up. He would have likely started 2013 at Indy after hitting .276 for Altoona last season.
- Reports say that Jason Grilli may be getting ready to pick a team; the Bucs keep saying they'd like him back and have made an offer, so we should find out where he lands shortly.
- Free agent righty Mike Pelfrey is getting a lot of play, with the Mariners, Indians, Twins, and others in the mix. The Pirates were connected to him earlier, so the competition is heating up. Pelfrey, 29 in January, had Tommy John surgery in early May and was non-tendered by the Mets last week.
- With tomorrow morning's Rule 5 draft fast approaching, Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Bill Brink that they "have Rule 5 guys they like but not sure they'll be there at pick number 13."
- Clint Hurdle told the media that Neil Walker was done with the PT regimen for his back and is now getting in baseball shape for camp.
- Mark Strittmatter, a Pirate hitting instructor, returned to the Colorado Rockies, where he was a long-time bullpen coach before joining Hurdle here in 2010. He'll be a roving minor league instructor for the Rox.
- Nate McLouth stayed with Baltimore, inking a one-year deal worth $2M + $500K in possible bonuses. Sean Burnett signed a two-year deal with the Angels, reportedly for $8M. The D-Backs have an offer on the table for Rod Barajas.