Yankees GM Brian Cashman suggests Kyle Higashioka could replace Austin Romine as backup catcher

New York Daily News Sports 3 weeks ago

Fresh off the 2019 GM meetings in Scottsdale, Yankees GM Brian Cashman gave some added insight into the Yankees’ offseason plans on Thursday, including their plans at key depth areas.

The Yankees exec shared he would be “comfortable” using Kyle Higashioka as the primary backup catcher next season. Austin Romine, who has long served as primary catcher Gary Sanchez’ backup, is a free agent. Meanwhile Higashioka, 29, is out of options and can’t be sent down to the minor leagues without him clearing waivers.

Kyle Higashioka looks on during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles in August.
Kyle Higashioka looks on during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles in August. (Julio Cortez/AP)

“We feel he’s ready to go. Like a lot of aspects of our roster, we feel we have personnel that can do the job,” said Cashman. However, he did speak with Romine’s agents, Michael Moye and Billy Rose, while in Arizona. Romine has grown into a competent hitter — he’s hit 18 home runs and 77 RBI over his last 149 games stretching back to 2018.

Cashman confirmed that third baseman Gio Urshela’s spot at the hot corner is “his position to lose.”

“You can’t deny how great Gio played last year,” said Cashman. “Going into Spring Training he would have the leg up, just because of how he handled that position on both sides of the ball.” Urshela broke out in 2019, batting .314 with 25 home runs and dazzling defense at third.

But he’s not ruling opening day third baseman Miguel Andujar out. Andujar, who’s potent bat led to a second-place AL Rookie of the Year finish in 2018, struggled with his defense before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He’s leaving the door open for Andujar filling a number of roles, from seizing his spot back to being stashed as depth in Triple-A.

“It’s nice to have competition,” added Cashman. “Miggy could play, potentially, other positions and if not, he could take the position back..”

Cashman spoke to the press ahead of another late night at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, but not because he intended to burn the midnight oil working the hot stove. Instead, he was promoting Covenant House’s annual “Sleep Out,” a fundraiser working to address youth homelessness.

“All these kids need are opportunities,” said Cashman. “They need more than just that, they obviously kneed a place to lay their head so they get a good night’s sleep and three square meals a day on top of an opportunity.”

While Cashman expected a quiet evening raising money for Covenant House, he pointed to his cell phone and his mobile charging pack, just in case the right deal came up.

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