Fans of the Detroit Tigers have not had a lot to get excited over in the last few years. The Tigers are clearly in a rebuilding mode after only winning a Major League Baseball worst 47 games in 2019. They also were a whopping 53.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
There is no doubt that the Tigers are in a massive rebuild at the moment. However on Friday, the Tigers seemed to solidify their catcher position in 2020. They opened up their wallet and signed catcher Austin Romine from the New York Yankees to a one year deal worth $4 million.
Romine had a productive 2019 Major League Baseball regular season with the Yankees. He batted .281 with eight home runs and 35 runs batted in. Also, in 228 at bats, Romine scored 29 runs, had 64 hits, 12 doubles, one stolen base, 10 walks, .310 on base percentage, .439 slugging percentage, 100 total bases and one sacrifice fly.
It should be noted that even though the Yankees number one catcher, Gary Sanchez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, exemplified outstanding power at a position normally known for its defense (34 home runs, 77 runs batted in), he only batted .232 in 2019. That was 49 percentage points lower than Romine.
Romine is also a much better hitting catcher than the Yankees current backup catcher, Kyle Higashioka of Huntington Beach, CA. Higashioka only batted .214 in 2019 and has an abysmal career batting average of .164, which is 36 points below the Mendoza line.
One unfortunate circumstance for Romine, is that he will not have the chance to catch the best pitcher in Major League Baseball at the moment in Gerrit Cole. In a remarkable signing, the Yankees signed Major League Baseball’s strikeout king to a nine year deal worth $324 million last week. Instead, Romine will be working everyday with a Tigers pitching staff that is projected to have a starting five of Matthew Boyd, Spencer Turnbull, Daniel Norris, Dario Agrazal and Jordan Zimmermann. Their combined record last season was 20 wins and 60 losses.