The New York Yankees Shouldn’t Resign Austin Romine

The New York Yankees have several free agents this winter, and one of them happens to be backup catcher Austin Romine. Romine, now almost 31, had a one year deal worth $1.8 million. However, I think that the Yankees would be better off not signing him again.

If the Yankees don’t sign him, it gives him an opportunity so go to a different team and maybe even start. There are several rebuilding teams that could use a catcher, and his stats show he would do a good job.

He hit .281 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in 2019 with one walk off. Romine has always called good games behind the plate, but isn’t the best defensively and has a pretty poor arm.

The Yankees would also be saving some money. Romine would probably want like $3 million for two or three years, and instead they could use that money to help pursue a starting pitcher.

And, the Yankees have another catcher that they could use as a backup. Enter Kyle Higashioka.

Higgy has served as the “third catcher” when Gary Sanchez is hurt and when the roster expands. He’s 29, but has bounced up and down for three years now.

He’s shown some potential, batting .214 in 56 at-bats this year and having a good year in AAA. But previously, he really struggled in the MLB and was even struggling in AAA at times.

I like Austin Romine and all, but it’s just time to part ways with him. He deserves a better role, and the Yankees could be saving some money and resources by not resigning him.

 

Should The New York Yankees Trade Kyle Higashioka?

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Over the last three seasons, Kyle Higashioka has served as the New York Yankees third string catcher. He has come up and down when needed due to injuries or roster expansion. Each time that he comes up, he looks a bit more ready to take on more of a role with a major league team. Should the Yankees trade him to give him more of a chance?

Pros

Trading Higashioka would give him more playing time with his new team, an increased morale, and increased pay. Also, if you trade him, you could get a good return back. The Yankees could get more prospects or even a Mike Tauchman or Luke Voit type player.

Cons

Obviously, the big con is that you lose a good, up-and-coming player. Higashioka is a solid overall player, having a good and powerful swing while also playing solid defense.

With trades though, you never know. The guy you trade could become a star while what you get back disappoints.

Another Option

Instead of trading Higashioka, the team could trade Romine and make Higgy the Yankee back-up catcher. Romine has played well over the last few years, and is good enough to start on some teams. Romine would be a better option than any catchers that the Orioles have on their big-league roster.

Once the 2019 season concludes, the Yankees should make a decision and trade one of their catchers. Whoever they choose not to trade, they should make them the back-up to Gary Sanchez and let the other have a better opportunity on a different team.

 

New York Yankees: Why is Kyle Higashioka shining in starting role?

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

While New York Yankees reserve catcher Kyle Higashioka has virtually no chance at replacing regular starter Gary Sanchez, it’s worth taking a look at how impressive he’s been in such a small sample size.

Hitting .256 on the year after a five-RBI performance against the Baltimore Orioles, Kyle is looking like he can be an everyday player for the Bombers. Given Sanchez and his impressive home run totals will take his place, but there’s no denying that Higashioka is not only hitting well but playing solid defense as well.

This season, Sanchez has thrown out 7-of-28 stolen bases attempted, while Higi is 3-for-11. They have a similar percentage in that category. However, their offensive production is an interesting topic.

The New York Yankees have an unusual situation at catcher:

Gary is boasting a .229 batting average with 24 homers and 58 RBIs. His numbers look solid aside from his norm, which unveils his struggles. The starting catcher has struck out 90 times this season, four less than his 87-game total from 2018.

Overall, Sanchez’s offense has improved a minimal amount, but his defense has taken a significant step forward. The Yankees have managed to extract the most out of career-average players this season. It seems they’re doing the same with Higashioka, as Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, and Mike Tauchman have all evolved into impact players.

Whether the Yanks have a killer psychologist helping these athletes find their best self or the Pinstripes are magical — whatever it is, it’s working.

Despite the success of the backup catcher, Sanchez will be returning in a few days after spending a few weeks on the injured list with a strained groin. With Gary out, Austine Romine and Kyle have earned more playing time and reps, which have helped them develop consistency.

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“This time around, other than [Tuesday, when Romine started for the second straight night] we have been going every other day,’’ Higashioka said. “That’s nice because you don’t have to worry about timing as much.’’

As for manager Aaron Boone:

“I just think we have a lot of confidence in both guys,’’ Boone said. “When you split it up, I feel those guys are in a really good place. Keeping these guys fresh, obviously catching is a little more demanding. It’s a belief that both guys are going to impact us.’’

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez To The IL With Groin Strain

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees announced today that catcher Gary Sanchez will be heading to the 10-day IL with a groin strain. Sanchez has really struggled of late, and is batting just .102 in July.

Austin Romine will be the starting catcher for now, as Kyle Higashioka has been recalled from AAA to fill the open roster spot as the back-up. Higashioka is 3-for-15 in the majors this year, and is batting .268 with 16 home runs and 40 RBI in the minors.

Additionally, Jonathan Holder was sent back to AAA and Nestor Cortes Jr. will fill his spot. Holder appeared in the series opener against Minnesota, pitching a scoreless inning. Cortes Jr. was likely recalled because he is fresher.

The Sanchez injury isn’t anything the Yankees can’t overcome, and hopefully he will be back to his normal self once he comes back.

Gio Urshela Leads New York Yankees Past Angels in 14 Innings

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

Giovanny Urshela had an RBI single in the 14th inning, as the New York Yankees took down the Angels 4-3.

Five lame hits

Despite 14 innings of play, the Yankees only managed to squeak out five hits.

Luke Voit got it going his first time up, belting a 2-2 slider to right-center for a solo home run.  Gleyber Torres had a sacrifice fly in the third to drive in a run to tie it at two. The Angels got two runs in the second off a two-run bomb from catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

It would seemingly stay 2-2 forever.

Urshela had a sacrifice fly in the 12th, and the Angels got a run off of Chapman in the bottom of the inning for his first blown save of the year. Come the fourteenth, Urshela knocked in another run; this one a hit that would win the game.

Urshela ended up with two hits on the night to go along with the hit from Voit, a hit from Higashioka, and a hit from Frazier.

The struggling Jonathan Holder finally got it going in the right direction, pitching a scoreless 13th and 14th en route to a win.

About time it HAPPened

After a rough start to the season, JA Happ settled in and gave the Yankees seven strong innings. He gave up three hits, and his only mistake was a slider that found the seats for Lucroy of the Angels for two runs.

Happ walked two and struck out five. He only threw first pitch strikes to 11 of the 25 batters he faced, which isn’t great. He should have more success if he throws more first pitch strikes.

Happ had a decent start last time out against the Red Sox, with Austin Romine catching. Maybe Happ will continue to have success without Sanchez catching him, and it may be in the Yankees best interest to DH or sit Sanchez on days that Happ pitches. Sanchez is still expected to be activated on Wednesday.

Game two of this four game set begins Tuesday at 10:05PM (ET). Jonathan Loaisiga is expected to come up from AAA to make a start to give the rotation an extra day of rest, and Joe Harvey is being sent down. Chris Stratton gets the ball for the Angels.

New York Yankees Get Back on Track With 4-0 Win Over White Sox

Just a day after giving up 12 hits in a rain shortened loss, the New York Yankees pitching staff shut it down by allowing just one hit as the Yankees beat the White Sox 4-0.

Welcome back big fella

After health issues, CC Sabathia made his season debut and was excellent. He pitched just five innings as the Yankees didn’t want to stretch him, but gave up just one hit. He struck out three and walked nobody in his 62 pitches.

CC had the slider working well, getting all three strikeouts with it. He did what he does best by working for soft contact and trusting your defense. The one hit he gave up was on a cutter that was a bit to up in the zone.

In conclusion, a great return for the lefty here in his final season.

The bullpen finally decided to show up on Saturday, pitching four no-hit innings. Domingo German came in for two innings of relief and was credited with the win.

Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman had the eighth and ninth innings respectively, each pitching 1-2-3 innings and picking up a strikeout.

A balanced offense

For once, the offense was pretty balanced on Saturday. The Yankees had seven hits and each one came from a different player.

Going into the bottom of the seventh, the game was actually tied but the Yankees changed that by putting up a three spot. They used some small ball as Luke Voit had a pinch hit RBI single, followed by a sacrifice fly by Kyle Higashioka and a suicide squeeze by Tyler Wade.

In the eighth inning, Aaron Judge punched one into the seats in right for a short 335 foot home run to make it 4-0, that being the final score.

The rubber match between the White Sox and the Yankees will be on Sunday at 1:05PM. The game will be on YES Network and FOX Sports Go. Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for the Yankees against Carlos Rodon of the White Sox.

 

New York Yankees: Will Austin Romine remain the Yankees Back-up catcher?

In 2018, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez missed a good portion of the season because of groin injuries throughout the season. When he went down, back-up catcher Austin Romine did a great job behind the plate, but in the case for Yankees fans, did Romine do “too good of a job” in the sense that he could be traded to another team to take the role as a starting catcher? If that were to happen, would Kyle Higashioka do a good enough job as the back-up?

Is Romine deserving of a starting job elsewhere?

Around the trade deadline last season, the first rumors emerged that teams would possibly be interested in acquiring Austin Romine in a trade for a pitcher. He caught a good amount of games from May into mid-summer when Sanchez was rehabbing his groin and found himself on the DL twice.

In 242 at-bats in 2018, Romine hit .244 and had an OBP of .295 while slugging .417. In addition, he had 10 HR and 42 RBIs. He has shown in the last three seasons that he is a more reliable defensive catcher with a fielding percentage of .994 and a significantly less number of pass balls, compared to 18 passed balls for Sanchez in just 74 starts behind the plate in 2018.

Another thing that attracts teams to Romine is his work ethic and passion of the game. In 2018, he won the Yankees “heart and hustle award”, and has previously worked so hard to try and get back to the major leagues after limited appearances in 2011, 2014, and 2015, and no appearances in 2012. He’s also been known to stand up for his teammates and call out opposing players when need be. His most famous example of that is his brawl with Miguel Cabrera in 2017 against the Tigers.

Could Kyle Higashioka do a good enough job?

Kyle Higashioka has also been constantly working as hard as he can for his shot. Despite many trips up and down from AAA since the beginning of 2017, he wasn’t able to get his first until 2018 when he hit a long home-run during Sunday Night Baseball against the Red Sox.

His first three major league hits were actually home-runs but only hit .167 in 72 AB. He did have solid defense, with just one error in 20 starts, but his arm needs work. He would generally put the throws on target, just not quick enough.

Higashioka clearly had trouble at-bat in 2018, and also struggled in AAA batting only .202. With that average, he should be lucky that the Yankees were relatively low on catching options because he could have easily been sent down to AA. His fielding percentage was even slightly lower with Trenton, at .986.

Kyle Higashioka clearly needs work to be MLB ready. Besides his fielding percentage, his hitting numbers are nowhere near ready to be the MLB back-up catcher. If the Yankees were to trade Romine, they would need to receive a MLB ready catcher in exchange or sign an MLB veteran catcher, or claim one off of waivers. Veterans Matt Weiters, Caleb Joseph, and Stephen Vogt are all free-agents and could work as a back-up if a trade were to happen.