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.