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Yankees Hot Stove: Austin Romine could be available

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Right now the Yankees have five catchers on their 40-man roster. That's excessive, to say the least. It's possible that they plan to trade at least one of them in order to clear space and help fill other needs. Out of Brian McCann, Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy, and Gary Sanchez, Nick Cafardo of the Boson Globe believes that Romine is the one that should be dealt.

He compares Romine's situation to Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway's as he "finds himself in the same spot as the Red Sox' Ryan Lavarnway, with really no business going back to Triple A. With Lavarnway, there's at least light at the end of the tunnel with Pierzynski and David Ross in the last year of their contracts. Lavarnway is also being pushed by Christian Vazquez and Romine by Gary Sanchez."

Essentially, Romine really doesn't have a place to go. The Yankees plan to offer Cervelli a contract, and since they seem to prefer using players who lack options, he will be the likely favorite to backup Brian McCann. Romine can't sit in Triple-A because Murphy, who is younger and more promising, will already be starting there, and Sanchez, the organization's top prospect, could join him by midseason. This leaves Romine as the odd man out.

At just 25, he has one more season before he is arbitration eligible and he won't be a free agent until 2019. Despite his struggles in 2013, he is still a young and controllable catcher, and that has some value to it. There is still hope in his bat as he put together a 106 wRC+ in the second half of the season and was one of the best pitch framers last year, scoring 3.8 Runs Above Average, the 20th best in baseball, so at the very least, Romine would be a serviceable backup catcher for another team.

Potential suitors are running out as teams have added both starting and backup catchers alike. The White Sox are currently the only team still looking for a starting catcher. They have already expressed interest in J.R. Murphy, but Romine could still be a worthwhile pursuit for them. Besides them, the Diamondbacks, Mariners, Marlins, and Tigers could all look to upgrade their backup catcher.

The Yankees still need a reliever and another option at third base. They can just as easily sign Mark Reynolds or Jeff Baker. If they want a reliever, it makes more sense for them to try and acquire one, rather than signing some of the options still out there. Who do you think they should they target?