Report: Austin Romine nearing deal with Tigers

The Yankees will have a new backup catcher next season for the first time in a while. Austin Romine has been the team’s backup catcher since 2016, but now appears to have an opportunity to start in Detroit. The 31 year-old Romine will compete with Jake Rogers and Grayson Greiner, two young backstops who struggled last season.

This means the Yankees will either seek another backstop in free agency or trade to be Gary Sánchez’s caddy or roll with Kyle Higashioka. Higgy seems more than qualified defensively, as Bobby recently wrote. He’s also hit aplenty in the minors, though that hasn’t surfaced in limited big league action. Plus, Higashioka is out of options, so the Yankees would risk losing him should he not be the backup (or go with three catchers).

Romine was much maligned for his lack of offense during his tenure in the Bronx. But in fairness to him, how many backup catchers actually hit well? And really, Romine was sturdy when the Yankees needed him most. He always seemed to put together a nice run whenever Sánchez got hurt.

Happy trails, Austin.

Update, 12:42pm: It’s actually a one year deal, not two.

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6 Comments

  1. Mungo

    I’m unmoved by this news. I wish Romine well.

  2. RetroRob

    Romine will get a chance to become more of a full-time catcher, although I suspect it will be more of a job share role in Detroit as opposed to the BUC role on the Yankees. Romine really was bad offensively the first five years of his career, posting a 54 OPS+, and his defense was mostly average, which is why many wanted him replaced. Either hit or be excellent defensively, and he was neither. His offense definitely clicked up the last two seasons, so I’d have been fine if he came back, although $4.1M is a little rich when they have a perfectly fine BUC in HIggy at league minimum. I also think Higgy willl surprise some with the bat with a more regular role. Only concern is can he stay healthy.

    • chip56

      I find it very unlikely that Higgy is actually going to be the BUC next year. As soon as Cole signed the rumors about Maldanado started circulating. He was basically Cole’s personal catcher last year and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in pinstripes by the end of December, much the same way the Cubs signed David Ross soon after signing Jon Lester.

      • Higgy is a perfectly capable BUC. I have a difficult time believing the Yankees will take on any unnecessary money right now. They are trying as hard as they can to get below the $248 million threshold.

      • D.B.

        I’m not sure what’s going to happen here, I’d say it’s 60//40 that they just roll with Higgy. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they’re just going through the motions on Maldonado so they could tell Cole “We tried.”

  3. chip56

    Good luck to the lettuce man.

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