With Tucker Barnhart heading into free agency, Papierski’s addition gives the Tigers some extra depth behind the plate beyond Eric Haase. Jake Rogers is expected to compete for playing time in Spring Training after missing 2022 due to recovery from Tommy John surgery, and prospect Dillon Dingler (who played all of last season at Double-A) might be in line for a late-season debut in the majors.
The waiver claim doesn’t preclude Detroit from making further or larger moves at catcher as the offseason rolls on, yet Papierski is a known quantity to new Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris. Formerly the Giants’ GM for the last three seasons, Harris oversaw the trade that sent Papierski from the Astros to San Francisco last May, which opened the door for Papierski to make his MLB debut. Papierski’s tenure with the Giants last just over a month before he went to Cincinnati on another claim.
An LSU product, Papierski was a ninth-round pick for the Astros in the 2017 draft. Over 1606 career plate appearances in the minors, the backstop has a .222/.356/.337 slash line and 30 home runs. Papierski couldn’t match this modest slash line in his first exposure to Major League pitching, as he hit .143/.228/.187 over 103 combined PA with the Giants and Reds last season.
Sanchez was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals back in June, but the 25-year-old didn’t see any MLB action with either St. Louis or Detroit in 2022. Receiving cups of coffee in both 2020 with the Mets and in 2021 with the Cardinals, Sanchez’s MLB resume consists of seven total games. Known more than his defense than his bat during his time in New York’s farm system, Sanchez has a career .262/.323/.343 slash line over 2045 PA, with six of his eight seasons coming in the Mets organization. Given the constant need for catching depth around the big leagues, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another club claim Sanchez off the DFA wire, but if he clears, he’ll get attention for minor league contracts this winter.