MLB Rumors: Robinson Chirinos and the Texas Rangers are “inching closer” to a deal, per Evan Grant. The free agent catcher was surprisingly let go by Texas last offseason when they declined to exercise their team option on him — a move that proved quite embarrassing when the rival Houston Astros signed Chirinos for more than what the Rangers could have kept him for.
Chirinos, 35, spent the 2013-18 seasons with the Rangers, and established himself as a popular player in the clubhouse, with the media, and with the fans before he was unceremoniously cut loose. The Rangers decided that they preferred the defense and pitcher-handling skills of Jeff Mathis, who they paired with Isiah Kiner-Falefa to start the 2019 season. Neither player hit at all, and IKF was moved back to the infield in the second half of the season, while Mathis was slowed by injuries after being asked to carry the heaviest workload he’d had in recent years, leaving the Rangers with Tim Federowicz and Jose Trevino catching most of the time in September.
The Rangers appear ready to eat some crow and acknowledge they screwed up by letting Chirinos go. The question, if Chirinos does come back to Texas, is whether Chirinos will be the regular, with Jeff Mathis as the backup and Jose Trevino in AAA unless and until he’s needed in Arlington, or if the Rangers will cut Mathis loose and let Chirinos and Trevino share time.
Chirinos slashed .238/.347/.443 for the Astros last season, and would give the Rangers a righthanded bat with pop to help the lineup.
UPDATE — Ken Rosenthal says that Chirinos and the Rangers have agreed to a deal, pending a physical.
UPDATE II — Evan Grant says it is a one year deal with an option.
UPDATE III — Jon Heyman says it is a $6.75 million guarantee, so the deal is probably something like $5.5 million for 2020, and a $1.25M buyout on the 2021 option if it isn’t exercised.
UPDATE IV — Jeff Wilson says Chirinos gets $5.75M for 2020, with a 2021 team option at $6.25 million with a $1 million buyout.