The Angels have released catcher Austin Romine, according to his transactions log at MLB.com. Sam Blum of the Athletic tweets that the veteran backstop triggered an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. That left the Angels to decide whether to select him onto the 40-man roster or grant him his release.
Romine is one of a handful of veterans who have three automatic opt-out dates under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. Players who qualified for major league free agency at the end of last season — based on having six-plus years of big league service — who signed a minor league deal during the winter had opt-out possibilities on each of April 2 (five days before Opening Day), May 1 and June 1. Romine forewent his first two opt-out chances but triggered the final provision.
The 33-year-old will now head back out onto the open market in search of a new opportunity. As a catcher who has appeared in parts of 11 big league seasons, he shouldn’t have much trouble finding another minor league job elsewhere. A longtime backup with the Yankees, Romine has suited up with the Tigers, Cubs and Angels since leaving the Bronx. He’s a career .238/.276/.357 hitter over 437 MLB games.
Romine appeared in ten games with the Angels’ top affiliate in Salt Lake this season, hitting .273/.368/.394 with a homer in 39 trips to the plate. He also saw action in three big league contests as a designated COVID-19 substitute when the Angels lost both Max Stassi and Kurt Suzuki to the virus list last month. Romine was returned to the minors when that duo made it back onto the field, and Los Angeles will continue with the Stassi – Suzuki pairing.