What about Austin Romine?

Perhaps the most shocking development so far this offseason was the failure to retain the services of Russell Martin. Martin hasn’t exactly put our warm memories of Jorge Posada‘s bat to sleep, but he gave the Yankees two respectable seasons behind the dish. That’s why it was surprising when the Pirates out bid the Yankees for his services. Seldom do the Bombers let their man walk. Martin wasn’t going to be a Yankee for a decade, but it was worth it to keep him around for another year.

There’s no use crying over spilled milk. Martin is gone. Fortunately the Yankees are deepest in their farm system at Catcher. That’s part of why the team was comfortable letting Jesus Montero go in trade. Gary Sanchez is just 20 years old, and his bat arguably has as much promise as Montero’s. But Sanchez is a few seasons away. Is 2013 the season of Austin Romine?

Romine has never had the same hype as Sanchez or Montero because he’s never shown the same promise with the stick. But of the three he’s always shown the most raw potential as a backstop. He’ll be just 24 years old next season and he may be just the ticket on a Yankee team looking to cut costs. Can he handle the responsibility?

Romine didn’t show the Yankees much in 2011 when he got his first taste of the show. His batting line was just .158/.200/.158, which is as bad as it gets. But Romine has shown promise in the past. He’s done his best work in AA, but in 17 games in AAA last season he managed an 89 wRC+. He could be on the cusp of breaking out, or he could be in the process of never panning out. The only way to tell will be if the Yankees give him a shot. My gut says that Austin will be under the microscope in spring training. Failing that, there’s always Francisco Cervelli.

8 thoughts on “What about Austin Romine?

  1. Chris

    I don’t like the idea of skipping AAA for players who at their best were a 104 wRC+ and I like it even less for catchers. Romine has shown nothing to suggest he’s ready for major league pitchers and throwing him into a starting role at this point is begging for trouble. He needs to spend at least part of the season in AAA, the whole year would be preferable but need may dictate he has to be called up at some point. Either way it’s a mistake to force him to be a major league player right now.

  2. I agree with Chris that it would be a mistake to just hand him the job right now, and I have to think the Yankees’ plan is to start him in Triple-A again just to get an idea of what he can do with the stick when he’s 100% healthy.

    That being said, assuming the Yankees don’t add a catcher before ST and roll into camp with their collection of backups, I would have no problem with Romine getting 1 of the 2 roster spots if he surprises everybody and greatly outperforms the rest of the candidates.

  3. nyyankeefanforever

    “…surprising when the Pirates out bid the Yankees for his services.”

    Brian never made an offer after Russell turned down a proposed extension before the season began — and thank goodness for that.

  4. Patrick

    Player 1
    497 Minor League games
    53 HR
    251 RBI
    99 2B
    274 Runs

    Player 2
    458 Minor League games
    43 HR
    254 RBI
    102 2B
    245 Runs

    Player 1 is Jorge Posada in minors and Player 2 is Austin Romine in minors. Maybe it’s time to give the kid a shot.

  5. Scout

    Romine has never managed to stay on the field, and a back problem for a catcher is no small thing. Why would the Yankees want to count on him now?

  6. Chris

    HRs, runs, and RBI are the worst ways possible to judge players considering two of those three stats are team stats.

    In 6 minor league seasons Jorge had a triple slash line of .258/.368/.436 in 6 minor league season Romine has a slash line of .278/.333/.414. Here’s the kicker Jorge played 603 games in those 6 years, 306 of which were played in AAA. Romine on the other hand has played 486 games in his 6 years, only 21 of which have been in AAA. So in more games Jorge showed better on base skills and more power, and Romine did most of that in A or AA ball while Jorge did it almost exclusively against more advanced pitcher in AAA.

    Better statistics and perspective tell the story much better than cherry picked numbers with no context.

    • Patrick

      Just trying to add to the discussion Chris. Since you too seem to be cherry picking numbers; did you happen to notice that Posada originally came up as a infielder and wasn’t converted to a catcher until his 2nd year in the minors? Maybe Posada needed the years in AAA because he only caught 432 games total to Romine’s 339.
      Look, there will never be another Posada. We were very lucky. All I am trying to say is maybe they should give him a long look in spring training and see what happens. Could be a better alternative than Eli Whiteside!

  7. fuster

    If there’s any one position that the Yankee coaching staff is qualified to baby a rookie through, it’s catcher.

    The Yanks will survive ‘slong as they find offense in the outfield, 3B and DH

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