Late this afternoon, baseball journalist Jon Heyman sent a tweet out that reported the New York Yankees and back-up catcher Austin Romine reached an agreement for a one year contract for the 2018 season, bypassing arbitration.
As one might predict, Twitter’s peanut-gallery came to life fairly quick with the usual barbs about Romine not hitting well and being an automatic out and other “interesting takes”.
I like the move. As far as I’m concerned he’s worth every penny of that 1.1 million salary, and I will list the ways.
– Romine is familiar with every pitcher on the Yankees staff and vice-versa. It’s obviously nice to have a catcher who can hit the way Gary Sanchez does, but in my opinion it’s imperative for catchers to put defense and working with pitchers first, gaining a pitcher’s trust and confidence. It can have a greater effect to the entire team, and Romine has always done this and done it well.
– The aforementioned Sanchez will benefit from Romine’s presence and mentoring. I think it’s safe to assume the 29 year old Romine has been and will continue to tutor the younger Sanchez in effort to make him better at his craft behind the plate.
– Work ethic. To this writer, it seems like Romine has been around forever. He first made his MLB debut back in 2011, and had to overcome numerous injuries, shuttling back and forth to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre when healthy. Romine has outlasted follow backups Francisco Cervelli and John Ryan Murphy on the team and keeps coming back for more. After a season where Gary Sanchez’s worth ethic has been questioned, keeping Romine around at an inexpensive price was a wise choice.