Yankees catching prospect Austin Romine likely to begin season in minors

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Everyone keeps waiting for the Yankees to do something about their underwhelming catching situation, but no moves appear to be on the horizon and today general manager Brian Cashman revealed that catching prospect Austin Romine is likely headed to Triple-A.

“I expect Romine to go to Triple-A,” Cashman said, via Anthony McCarron of the New York 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.”

That makes sense, as Romine played just 31 games last season and never put up big numbers offensively to begin with, failing to crack an .800 OPS in any of his six seasons in the minors.

However, that would also seemingly mean the Yankees are willing to go into the season with a catching duo of former backup Francisco Cervelli–who spent most of last season at Triple-A himself–and journeyman Chris Stewart. Cashman said the Yankees are comfortable “going internal” with Cervelli and Stewart, but that has the potential to be one of the worst-hitting duos in baseball.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.