Austin Romine provides necessary depth for the Reds in 2023

Cincinnati Reds catcher Austin Romine
Cincinnati Reds catcher Austin Romine / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Veteran catcher Austin Romine will be back behind the dish for the Cincinnati Reds in 2023; at least during spring training. The team announced on Tuesday that Romine had been signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training.

There are bound to be several fans throughout Reds Country who question this move. After all, Cincinnati did just sign Curt Casali to a contract last week after already agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with Luke Maile.

Add Tyler Stephenson into the mix, and it would appear that the Cincinnati Reds have as many catchers in the system as they do shortstops. Okay, that's a big of a stretch, but you get the idea.

Austin Romine provides necessary depth for the Reds in 2023.

The Cincinnati Reds went into last season without a backup catcher. After a terrific rookie season in 2021, the front office deemed it unnecessary to retain Tucker Barnhart in 2022 and traded the two-time Gold Glove Award-winner to the Detroit Tigers.

Last spring, Cincinnati invited both Andrew Knapp and Aramis Garcia to Goodyear with the intention of allowing the two veteran backstops to compete for the role of backup catcher. Garcia eventually won the job and was added to the team's 40-man roster alongside Stephenson.

Unfortunately, Stephenson was battered and bruised throughout the season. He spent three separate stints on the Injured List, with the final trip resulting in a season-ending placement on the 60-day IL after a foul-tip off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt on July 22nd. Stephenson appeared in just 50 games last season.

The Cincinnati Reds used a total of seven catchers in 2022. Stephenson, Garcia, Austin Romine, Michael Papierski, Chuckie Robinson, Chris Okey, and Mark Kolozsvary all donned the tools of ignorance for the Redlegs last season.

Squatting behind the plate for 162 games just isn't in the cards anymore. With Stephenson, Casali, and Maile all on the 40-man roster, one should expect that the trio will also see some time behind the dish in 2023. In fact, don't be shocked if Casali receives more starts at catcher than Stephenson.

With the additional depth in the minors after adding both Romine and Robinson on minor league deals, Cincinnati now has credible depth in the event that one of their three catchers goes down in 2023.

Unless one of Tyler Stephenson, Curt Casali, or Luke Maile begins the season on the IL, fans should not expect to see Austin Romine or Chuckie Robinson on the Opening Day roster.

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