It’s settled. Barring a last-minute addition, the Yankees will enter the season with a catching tandem of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart.
That became the reality this afternoon after prospect catcher Austin Romine was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre among a series of roster cuts. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said back in January that he expected Romine to begin the season in the minors, so the move doesn’t come as a big surprise.
Romine, 24, went 2-for-8 with three RBI and a run scored in six Grapefruit League games. Sending him down is the right move for his development, as he was limited to just 31 games last season due to a back injury and has only appeared in 26 games above Double-A (including five with the Yankees in 2011), but there figures to be plenty of clamoring for his callup if he gets off to a hot start and Cervelli and Stewart are as underwhelming offensively as most expect.
The Indians have designated outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for assignment. This comes after Gonzalez batted a mere .210/.282/.276 over 117 plate appearances in Cleveland. That came after he had to settle for a minor league contract with the Indians in mid-March.
A few years ago Gonzalez was a superstar, winning three Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards, making the All-Star team three times and coming in third in the MVP balloting once upon a time. That was then, however. His most recent good season came in 2016, when he hit .298/.350/.505 with 25 homers and drove in 100. In 2017 and 2018 he combined to hit .232/.269/.334. Between his falloff in production and the fact that his big numbers of the past were heavily supported by playing at Coors Field, it should not be shocking that he couldn’t make it work in Cleveland.
If he wants to continue his career, he’ll no doubt have to take a minor league gig someplace. Otherwise, this could be the end of the line.