As the 2005 season began, Brian Cashman thought he had assembled the starting pitching staff New York would need to recapture the AL pennant from Boston and help Yankee fans forget the horror of the Bronx Bombers’ ALCS collapse to the hated Red Sox, the previous postseason. The Yankee GM had traded for Randy Johnson and signed Carl Pavano during that offseason and was hoping those two veterans would combine with Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown to give New York the type of overpowering rotation a team needed to make it to the World Series. That did not happen. Johnson was good but not great, ditto for Mussina and both Brown and Pavano missed most of that season due to injuries. The Yankees were forced to improvise with their starting pitching and they did so by bringing up Chien-Ming Wang from their farm system, trading for a Pittsburgh starter named Shawn Chacon and using a free agent pitcher they had signed the previous January named Aaron Small. Wang and Chacon won 15 games between them but it was Small’s performance that year that won the AL East Division flag for Joe Torre’s squad. The tall right hander won all ten of his decisions including five big wins in September, giving up just 3.2 runs every nine innings he pitched. Small was a high school teammate of Jason Giambi in Covina, CA. That great performance in 2005 earned him a million dollar contract from New York in 2006 but he would never win another big league game. After losing his third straight decision in 2006, he was sent down to Columbus, where he spent the rest of that year. He ended up retiring after that season with a 25-13 record and four saves during his nine years of big league pitching.
|OAK (3 yrs)||11||9||.550||5.63||107||3||30||0||0||4||161.1||197||112||101||12||76||93||1.692|
|NYY (2 yrs)||10||3||.769||4.60||26||12||3||1||1||0||103.2||113||56||53||13||36||49||1.437|
|FLA (2 yrs)||1||0||1.000||6.35||14||0||1||0||0||0||22.2||31||17||16||6||13||13||1.941|
|ARI (1 yr)||3||1||.750||3.69||23||0||9||0||0||0||31.2||32||14||13||5||8||14||1.263|
|ATL (1 yr)||0||0||27.00||1||0||1||0||0||0||0.1||2||1||1||0||2||1||12.000|
|TOR (1 yr)||0||0||9.00||1||0||1||0||0||0||2.0||5||2||2||1||2||0||3.500|
I remember not too long ago when Austin Romine was being labeled the second best minor league catching prospect in all of baseball. His problem at the time however, was that the one guy in front of him, Jesus Montero was also the property of the Yankee organization. Now at least Montero’s out of the picture but Romine still has a long way to go if he’s going to figure prominently in the Yankee’s future behind the plate plans.
This California-born son and brother of big leaguers, finally got his chance to dance in the big show in 2013, when Francisco Cervelli was again injured and lost for the season. He did OK defensively but got off to an absolutely horrible start with his bat. He was hitting just .103 for the Yankees at the end of May and you could tell he looked absolutely lost at the plate.
By July, however, Romine was a much more confident hitter and he was able too get his average up to as high as .227 by September of the 2013 season. Does he have the potential to become a .300 hitter, a 20-homer guy or drive in 100 runs in a season? I don’t think so and evidently, neither do the Yankees any more. New York’s front office made it clear that they will be pursuing free agent catcher Brian McCann this offseason, which means they see Romine as a backup catcher in the years ahead.
This Philadelphia native who was born November 9, 1962, had his best big league season as a Yankee in 1993, when he took over New York’s left field starting position and responded with a career-high .332 batting average. James then opted to become a free agent but nobody signed him. He ended up sitting out the entire strike-shortened 1994 season and when he rejoined the Yankees a season later, Gerald Williams had been given his old left field spot. Dion appeared in six games for New York during their 1996 World Championship season, the final six games of his 11-season big league career.
|NYY (4 yrs)||273||792||709||109||214||35||3||12||79||6||74||64||.302||.368||.410||.778|
|ATL (3 yrs)||329||1223||1050||141||297||61||11||14||102||20||153||145||.283||.374||.402||.776|
|MIL (3 yrs)||157||508||456||58||127||20||5||1||34||11||40||49||.279||.339||.351||.690|
|CLE (2 yrs)||158||551||493||54||143||26||2||5||51||6||51||49||.290||.357||.381||.738|