Detroit Tigers catcher Donny Sands DFA'd; catching depth thins out.
The Detroit Tigers have plenty to deal with before the 2024 season. The Tigers organization has a limited amount of catching depth at their disposal. Given their latest move to go out and sign Shelby Miller as an addition to the bullpen, it makes it even harder to see a whole lot of upside behind the dish.
Donny Sands was the casualty of the Detroit Tigers' recent move to bring in more depth for the bullpen. While Miller should be able to help the bullpen out, taking out another catcher will not help. Heading into the 2024 campaign, the team will be reliant on another big performance from Jake Rogers, whose "breakout season" seemed very flukey.
The battery mate to Rogers is Carson Kelly. The team brought in Kelly at the end of the 2023 season and then exercised the club option to keep Kelly around for the 2024 season. As a backup catcher for a team likely to finish as a middle-of-the-pack team in the American League (AL) Central, he'll be fine.
But Kelly is nothing more than a stopgap for the Tigers to find a better option behind the dish. Getting rid of Sands only further digs a hole behind the plate. Dillon Dingler is one of the team's better prospects. The former second-rounder has a chance to be something in the big leagues, but he has yet to crack the big-league level.
Sands, on the other hand, was an acquisition from the team's trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. When he was brought in from the trade with the Phillies, it was not expected that Sands was going to be a key player, but there was some thought that he could at least be a mid-tier prospect to add to the organization.
At best, Sands would end up serving as depth for the big-league roster or be a below-average addition to the farm system. But, the Tigers have designated him for assignment after just one year with the organization. Sands played in 93 games for the Tigers organization; 89 of them came with Triple-A Toledo, and four of them were with Double-A Erie.
In his 93 games, Sands accumulated 390 plate appearances. He slashed .230/.318/.360 where he had 24 doubles, a triple, six home runs, and 40 RBI to his credit. He may not have been the star of the show or even been better than Dingler was, but he was serviceable.
For Detroit, they are going to have to find depth elsewhere. Losing Sands may not have mattered in the long run, but the teams' catching depth is exceptionally thin heading into 2024.