The Rangers could be without catcher Robinson Chirinos for nearly three months, but while there’s been some talk about searching outside the organization for an upgrade, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick hears that Texas is more likely to stay in house than make a splashy acquisition (Twitter link). That would mean entrusting catching duties to recently acquired Bryan Holaday and rookie Brett Nicholas, though Crasnick does note that the Rangers could make a minor trade to acquire some depth at the position.
Though Crasnick downplays the possibility of a significant trade taking place, it’s still worth noting that his colleague, Buster Olney, reported this morning that the Rangers did at least engage in talks for a significant trade this winter (Twitter link). Per Olney, the Rangers spoke to the Padres about a trade involving Derek Norris, Andrew Cashner and Jurickson Profar, though clearly nothing ever came to fruition. Texas was connected to Norris right up through the end of Spring Training, with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News calling him a likelier trade candidate than the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy (to whom the Rangers were also frequently linked).
Holaday was naturally able to be acquired for a much lower return than it would’ve cost Texas to land either Lucroy or Norris this offseason, and the price tags on those two bigger-name catchers may have gotten even larger given how the Rangers now have an even more pressing need behind the plate. It’s also somewhat rare to see significant trades for catching take place during the season, as most teams prefer to give their backstops and pitchers time to learn to work with each other.
Cashner and Norris have been mentioned in trade rumors for much of the winter, as there was speculation the Padres could unload some of their top trade chips to rebuild after their disappointing 2015 season. While notables like Craig Kimbrel, Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko were dealt, San Diego stopped short of a full-fledged fire sale. Profar has also been cited as a trade candidate, as the former top-ranked prospect in all of baseball has missed almost all of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries and doesn’t have a place in the Rangers’ middle infield with Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor in starting roles. Padres GM A.J. Preller, of course, was formerly a longtime assistant general manager in the Rangers organization.