Do not expect similar performance compared to 2023 from Detroit Tigers backstop

Detroit Tigers catcher Jake Rogers is heading into the 2024 season with a chip on his shoulder after a breakout season in 2023. Do not expect similar results this year.
Detroit Tigers catcher Jake Rogers (34) celebrates after hitting a home run during Spring Training.
Detroit Tigers catcher Jake Rogers (34) celebrates after hitting a home run during Spring Training. / Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers' catching situation is horrendous. Relying on Jake Rogers and Carson Kelly to get the job done will not cut it. The Tigers are not chasing down a World Series ring in 2024, so it does not matter all that much, but those two will not cut it on a competing team.

I know there are Detroit Tigers fans out there who certainly disagree with that sentiment. Some folks are all-in on Jake Rogers after his 2023 performance, and after a loud spring, veteran backstop Carson Kelly seems primed for a big year as well. By big year, I mean being a backup catcher who actually provides value and could platoon with Rogers as needed.

Rogers had a big year last year at the plate—a bit of a breakout season. He really started to find his stride and handle the bat well, especially when it came to the power upside. He played in 107 games in 2023, finding his way with the Tigers offense, slashing .221/.286/.444 with 11 doubles and 21 home runs, driving in 49 runs. He walked 28 times and stayed true to his free-swinging ways, striking out 118 times over 331 at-bats.

The Tigers saw Rogers tap into the power stroke, using that muscle in the box and launching some balls beyond the wall. It was a quality season for Rogers, proving he can hack it in the big leagues. However, in the long term (beyond 2024), I'm not sold on Rogers. Heck, in the short term (the upcoming season), I'm not sold either.

Detroit Tigers catching situation is murky; Jake Rogers is not the answer.

Rogers had a great year in 2023 and it has a lot of people buying in on what he could do this season. I just have a hard time that a free-swinging backstop banking on hitting for power will be able to hack it. The right-handed bat had tendencies to swing and miss, as well as chase pitches.

Kelly's had a great spring, hitting the ball hard and proving why he was kept around. Being brought in as a menial backup option, he's hit his way onto the roster and been quite good. But -- he's not the answer either. The team will have to get creative and either bank on Dillon Dingler, somehow, getting a lot better or target an option outside the organization.

Catchers like J.T. Realmuto or Will Smith come at a premium, but Detroit's got to find their backstop. I'm just not convinced that Rogers is the guy. Even a tandem of Rogers & Kelly scares me. Banking on Rogers to be the guy is a bit worrisome. I'm less worried, considering I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid on the Tigers in 2024. Not yet, at least.

Who knows, though? Rogers could come out and smack a .230 average with 30 bombs, making this take look silly. It happens. But I have a hard time believing he can do this. I expect Rogers to regress from the 2023 line, looking more like the player he was in his first two seasons.

As a fan, I hope he proves me wrong -- but I just have a hard time seeing 2024 going well for Rogers. The Tigers' catching situation needs work.