The Yankees need a catcher and A.J. Pierzynski still available. It seems like an inevitable match, but it doesn’t sound like they are considering making him an offer as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that they are not excited by Pierzynski and could go with Austin Romine instead.
This is exactly like the time the Yankees said that Bubba Crosby would be their starting center fielder just before signing Johnny Damon. Unfortunately this time they might go with Crosby — metaphorically speaking.
At least Crosby was a major leaguer though as there are serious questions as to whether Romine is ready for The Show. A back injury limited him to just 31 games last season and only 17 of those were at the Triple-A level. That gives him just 21 games of experience at the Triple-A level in his career and it’s not exactly as if he’s thrived there hitting just .197/.267/.342 at that level.
Even if they thought he was ready there are serious questions about his health. He missed most of last season because of a back injury. Those are typically bad injuries that tend to linger around for typical position players. For catchers back injuries are serious red flags and his injury has already lingered going back to the summer of 2011.
If he makes the jump it’ll be a faster promotion than any Yankees catcher since the days of Yogi Berra. Not even Thurman Munson or Jorge Posada, both borderline Hall of Famers at the position, came along this fast.
The Yankees are in a tough spot though. Francisco Cervelli is the best hitter among their catching options, but that’s like calling Mark Sanchez the best quarterback on the Jets. On top of that, the Yankees are afraid of Pierzynski’s defense, but Cervelli’s D is worse. Their other options, Chris Stewart and Bobby Wilson, can both play strong defense, but neither can hit at all.
So the Yankees are passing on a veteran backstop that is both a better hitter and defender than Cervelli for crap, two defensive catchers, and one that isn’t ready and has dealt with chronic back problems. It makes you question their logic of resisting a multi-year offer to Russell Martin only to turn around and give a two-year deal to a 39-year-old outfielder.