Yankees: Will Austin Romine be re-signed this offseason?


The Yankees have a lot of big decisions to make this offseason, but one that’s really flying under the radar is whether or not they will re-sign backup catcher Austin Romine. He’ll be a free agent for the first time in his career and will likely have the opportunity to earn a big pay raise and sign with a team that will make him their starting catcher.

It’s hard to find a better backup catcher in baseball than Romine over the past four seasons. He’s done an outstanding job filling that role behind All-Star Gary Sanchez and in 2019 he had a career year. In 72 games he hit .281 with 8 HR and 35 RBI in 228 at-bats. Defensively he was rock solid as always handling a Yankees pitching staff that can be very challenging to catch.

The Yankees I’m sure would love to have Romine back for the 2020 season and beyond but there’s no guarantee that he will be re-signed. Romine has proven that he’s certainly good enough to be a major league starting catcher and there should be a handful of teams looking for one this winter. He’s had a good thing going in New York backing up Sanchez, but this offseason might be his best shot to cash in on a multi-year deal and become a full-time starter.

If his decision comes down to money Romine should definitely consider signing elsewhere because the Yankees probably aren’t going to outbid teams who want him to be their starting catcher. I could see them offering him a two or three-year deal but I don’t think they’ll be willing to pay him a salary above the $3M-$5M range. Based on his performance last season he should be able to make more than that on the free-agent market. If that proves true I think the Yanks would be content with moving on and letting Kyle Higashioka take over as the new backup.

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However, if he’s comfortable with his role and doesn’t want to leave the only organization he’s ever played for it wouldn’t be a bad career move at all for him to stay. If the last few seasons have shown anything it’s that whoever backups Sanchez is probably going to play more than most backups because of his injury history. Gary has had five separate IL stints since the 2017 season and has missed a combined 129 games over the past two years.

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Given Sanchez’s issues with groin strains, there’s a good chance he’ll land on the IL again and I’m sure Romine will factor that into his decision. Although, with that being said he also probably realizes Gary is still the catcher of the future and if he can stay healthy for a full season his playing time is going to take a small dip.

I wonder if the odds of him leaving increased after the Yankees continued to start Sanchez despite his struggles during their postseason run. Many argued for Romine to take over but the Yanks stuck with Sanchez until the very end which tells you all you need to know about how they feel about him.

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Romine could’ve seen that as a slight against him but I think it was more about their confidence in Sanchez’s abilities than their lack of faith in him. Who knows which direction he’s leaning in at this point, but that could’ve been the final straw that pushed him over the top to decide to leave.