Yankees add Donny Sands to 40-man roster; decline Joely Rodríguez’s option

A relatively busy week for the Yankees culminated in a couple of more moves earlier today. The team added catcher Donny Sands to the 40-man roster and declined southpaw Joely Rodríguez’s option for the 2022 season. The 40-man roster now stands at 39 players.

Rodríguez receives a $500,000 buyout as a result of the Yankees declining his $3 million options for 2022. The lefty reliever came over to the Bronx with Joey Gallo earlier this year. He was quite good in his brief stint with the Yankees: he had a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings pitched, though he fared much better against left-handed hitters, making him somewhat of a misfit during the three-batter minimum era.

Sands, a 25 year-old catcher, joins Gary Sánchez and Kyle Higashioka as the only backstops on the 40-man roster. The Yankees drafted Sands in the eighth round of the 2015 draft, but he hadn’t been much of a performer in the minors until this season. In fact, he had been left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft multiple times before. This winter, Sands was eligible for minor league free agency. Hence, the Yankees had to add him now otherwise risk losing him to another team. The Rule 5 protection additions will happen later this month.

Like so many other Yankees’ minor leaguers this year, Sands broke out offensively. He hit .261/.326/.466 (112 wRC+) in 380 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A. He hit for power for the first time, swatting 18 homers after entering this season with just 8 in more than 1,000 minor league plate appearances. Meanwhile, he made sufficient contact, striking out only 15.0 percent of the time. Defensively, he’s a catcher convert. He was drafted as a third baseman before switching positions, and he projects to be average with the glove behind the plate per MLB Pipeline.


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  1. chip56

    I like Sands.

    Then again, I hate Gary so…

  2. UnnamedSource

    It might be noted that Cot’s Contracts indicates that, in the event that the Yankees decided to decline the Rodriguez option, Texas would be on the hook for the $500,000 buyout.

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