SAN DIEGO -- The Tigers' search for catching help led them to a familiar name on the final day of the Winter Meetings on Thursday. Detroit reached an agreement with Austin Romine on a one-year deal worth just over $4 million. The team announced the deal Friday.
The 31-year-old Romine is the younger brother of former Tigers infielder Andrew Romine, who spent four seasons in Detroit. Austin Romine will get a chance to compete with Grayson Greiner for the starting-catcher job, with top prospect Jake Rogers expected to head to Triple-A Toledo for more work on his hitting.
Austin Romine has been a Yankee for his entire Major League career, backing up Gary Sanchez for the past four seasons. His .281 batting average (64-for-228) and .748 OPS in 2019 marked career highs to go with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 35 RBIs in 72 games.
Romine's bigger value, however, is behind the plate, where he recorded a 48.7 percent strike rate and registered +1 runs worth of extra strikes this past season according to Statcast. Greiner was break-even, while Rogers was minus-1 in two months of play.
Romine is expected to provide a veteran presence behind the plate for a largely young pitching staff that includes Matthew Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Norris, with top prospects Casey Mize and Matt Manning potentially reaching the Majors later next season.
Romine was part of the Tigers-Yankees fracas in 2017 that included current Tiger Miguel Cabrera, but that isn't expected to be an issue.