The Detroit Tigers are a week away from Opening their 2023 season in Tampa and are continuing to trim their 26-man roster down. This afternoon they announced they've made the following roster moves:
- Optioned reliever Will Vest and catcher Donny Sands to Triple-A
- Re-assigned infielder Andy Ibanez to minor league camp.
Vest is a bit of a surprise, considering his time in 2022, though he has struggled mightily this spring. Sands was acquired from the Phillies for Gregory Soto, but with Jake Rogers's comeback all but set, there wasn't room for him. Ibanez was dealing with a hand injury and missed time with the team for the World Baseball Classic. The Tigers have 38 players remaining in Major League camp.
Why it matters:
There are 12 more roster moves that will come down in the next week from the Tigers. Vest was a piece within the bullpen last season but hasn't been able to find it this spring at all. Sands is catching insurance at this point and will start the season in Triple-A. As an organizational depth piece, Ibanez didn't wow enough to stay with the big club, and this move paves the way for someone like Ryan Kriedler or Zach Short to make the trip north.
By the numbers:
- Will Vest has thrown four innings this Spring in five games, allowing 13 runs.
- Donny Sands is 6-28, with little power, and is being outplayed by Andrew Knapp.
- Ibanez is 3-18, with a .398 OPS this spring. Hampered by the injury and WBC, Toledo is the best start for him
The big picture:
The Tigers have had a decent Spring, though they've gone cold as of late offensively. Losing Vest in the bullpen, that's already been depleted by trades of Joe Jimenez and Gregory Soto, isn't great but names like Miguel Diaz are making their own case for his spot. With 12 spots remaining to cut, expect a flurry of moves over the next week as they gear up for their Opening Day matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays on March 30th.