Monday, March 14, 2016


There is still plenty of spring training left, but the battle for backup catcher is already pretty intense. A lot can still happen before the Yankees name their backup but the Yankees will have a tough decision to make in the weeks to come. Both of these guys are making a case for themselves, question is....who should get the job?

Fans have been listening and watching anxiously for the arrival of Gary Sanchez to play in the Bronx. We've heard about his growing pains over the years and now he has come a long way. He's matured. The bad attitude he once had is no more, and he has come into his own as a player. He's hungry and he is ready to contribute.

The time has come. This is the first legitimate chance he has to make the major league team and so far, spring has started off slowly for him. Going into the weekend, Sanchez was 0-10 in plate appearances. No big deal. It's spring after all. This is the time to work through the rust and get the timing back in order. His slow start does not concern me and it doesn't concern the Yankees, or Joe Girardi but hopefully it doesn't affect him and cause him to put too much pressure on himself.

This is a big year for Sanchez, even if he doesn't start the season with the team it is almost certain that we will see him at some point this year. But, what if the Yankees decide to hold Sanchez back? It could happen. The Yankees could decide to give more time for him to season down in AAA which would also delay his major league service time from starting until next year delaying his free agency. That is one motivation, but also the future of another catcher could also play into this decision.

Austin Romine is also still in the Yankee farm system trying to make it onto the team. Years ago he was grooming to be the next big catcher in the farm system. He has a reputation for being a good defensive catcher but he also has a weaker bat and has been riddled with injuries but so far spring training has been productive for him and he had a single in a game this weekend against the Rays and he has hit well so far.

The one advantage that Romine does have over Sanchez is he has worked with more of the pitching staff and is more familiar with them. He has been around longer and just has more experience with their pitching styles. He will have more of an advantage with calling pitches and working to the pitching staffs strengths. This is definitely something that Sanchez can and will learn over time, but Romine already has the benefit of this experience.

Unfortunately, time is not on Romine's side. While Sanchez can be stashed down in AAA the same cannot be said for Romine who is out of minor league options so if he is not named the backup catcher the Yankees will have to be ready to let him pursue an opportunity with another team.

Right now, my guy tells me that unless Carlos Corporan surprises everyone and steals the backup gig that we will be seeing Romine as the backup catcher. I just have this gut feeling. The Yankees are going to want to keep Sanchez longer and give him the experience and I can't say I blame them exactly. I have a feeling this will go down to the wire and something tells me this won't be a cut and dry decision. So.....which way will it go? The regular season is just three weeks away so we have plenty of time to sit and wait impatiently!

--Jeana Bellezza, 
BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ 


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