The Cincinnati Reds have signed reliever Alan Busenitz and catcher Austin Romine to minor league deals for the 2023 season. Both players also were invited to big league spring training.
Austin Romine is returning to the organization after spending the final two months of the 2022 season with the Reds. The 11-year big league veteran played in 37 games for Cincinnati, 11 more with St. Louis, and three with the Angels in 2022. Between his three stops he managed to hit just .155/.187/.248. He’s got a career .616 OPS, but hasn’t topped the .582 mark in a season since 2019. While there’s a lot to be desired with what he brings to the plate, he’s very well regarded for what he can do behind the plate. With Tyler Stephenson, Curt Casali, and Luke Maile all on the 40-man roster, Romine is likely looking to grab onto a spot in Triple-A and potentially be a call up option if and almost certainly when one of the catchers on the roster is injured during the year.
Alan Busenitz has pitched in two seasons in the big leagues and they were about as opposite of seasons as you could get. In 2017, as a rookie with Minnesota, he posted a 1.99 ERA in 28 games as he covered 31.2 innings. The next season his ERA was 7.82 in 23 games with the Twins, covering just 25.1 innings that saw him allow twice as many home runs as the previous season, nearly twice as many hits, and he walked nearly 50% more hitters.
The now 32-year-old headed to Japan following that season with the Twins and he pitched there for the last four seasons, posting a 2.83 ERA. Last year he posted a 2.27 ERA for Rakuten in 34 games. In his 31.2 innings he allowed just one home run, walked 10 batters, and he picked up 25 strikeouts. During his time in Japan he did an outstanding job of keeping the ball in the park, allowing just five home runs in 155.2 innings.