The Tigers have made their first free agent signing of the off season by signing former Yankee back up catcher Austin Romine to a 1 year deal worth 4 million dollars. The Tigers were linked to other free agent catchers on the market such as Jason Castro and Robinson Chirinos but ultimately decided Romine would be a better fit for the ball club. Austin Romine is also the younger brother of former Tigers super utility man Andrew Romine who was on the Tigers from 2014-2017.
Romine did have a solid 2019 campaign as he hit .281 with 8 home runs and 35 runs batted in in 228 at bats. Romine looks to get more playing time in Detroit than he did in New York as he will not be splitting time with our catcher of the future, Jake Rogers. This looks to be a very solid move by the Tigers to solidify the depth at the catching position. Romine is an upgrade at the back up catcher position over John Hicks, in the 2019 season Hicks hit a poor .210 with 13 home runs and 35 runs batted in. Hitting home runs was something the 2019 Tigers struggled with as Brandon Dixon lead the team with only 15, given Romine will recieve more plate appearances with the Tigers expect his home run total to be double digits.
In the past Romine has had some bad blood with the Tigers and specifically Miguel Cabrera, on August 24th, 2017 Romine and Cabrera got into a physical altercation at home plate. Hopefully Romine and Cabrera can put their differences aside and become good team mates to one another in the 2020 season.