Yankees still don’t have a starting catcher and while Chris Stewart can’t hit, Francisco Cervelli can’t do much of anything which made it look reasonable for them to go with Austin Romine. However, Yankees GM Brian Cashman explained that he doesn’t expect to go with the rookie.
“I expect Romine to go to Triple-A,” Cashman told Anthony McCarron of the NY Daily News. “He missed all of last year, almost . . . I don’t expect him to be our everyday catcher out of the gate. He always has the possibility of taking it, but realistically, if I were in prediction mode, I’d say Triple-A. But he has a chance to alter that.”
The back injury has been significant for Romine. He initially hurt his back way back in 2011 while riding on a bus and then missed all but 31 games last season with it. Because of that he has lost significant development time in the majors so despite being 24 already he still might not quite be ready for the majors. After all, he has played in just 21 games at the Triple-A level and hasn’t played in even 100 games since 2010.
So it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him to start the season in the minors and get consistent playing time before he’s promoted. Even if the Yankees waited until just May or June before calling him up it could provide him with the opportunity to get comfortable before being thrust into such a big role.
Cashman did leave open the possibility that he could get the job right out of the gate. If he’s doing well in spring training, and most importantly ready defensively, then it might not be too hard to beat out Stewart and Cervelli. After all, each has significant issues keeping them from being obvious choices for the starting job.
Romine has hit .278/.333/.414 over the course of his minor league career. If he is ready defensively and can come close to replicating those numbers than it’ll be hard for the Yankees to deny him a spot. Especially considering that Cervelli, a poor defender, could only muster a .246/.341/.316 line in Triple-A last season.