Robinson Chirinos Rumors

West Notes: Kapler, Gasparino, Tomas, Rangers, Angels

The Dodgers‘ front office shakeup isn’t over yet. As Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reported first, the Dodgers announced that they have hired Gabe Kapler as their farm director and Padres scouting director Billy Gasparino as their new director of amateur scouting (All Twitter links). Additionally, the team will hire Red Sox special assignment scout Galen Carr, per Saxon, though his role in the Dodgers’ front office is yet unreported. The Dodgers, of course, have already poached Andrew Friedman from the Rays (president of baseball ops) and Farhan Zaidi from the A’s (GM) in addition to hiring former Padres/D’Backs GM Josh Byrnes as their new senior VP of baseball ops. The new-look group is made up of some of the most respected executives from around the game.

Here’s more from the game’s Western divisions…

  • On a conference call with Padres season-ticket holders last night, general manager A.J. Preller spoke candidly about the team’s interest in Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas (Twitter link): “We’ve had the chance to see Yasmany Tomas and we’re in the process of determining his value for the Padres. We’re in the game.” San Diego has been said to be one of the front-runners for Tomas, and he’d certainly provide the team with some much-needed offense if he lives up to the hype surrounding him.
  • The Rangers will be on the lookout for a backup catcher to pair with Robinson Chirinos this offseason, writes MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Sullivan looks at the crop of free agents and notes that A.J. Pierzynski, Gerald Laird and J.P. Arencibia have all played with the Rangers in the past, but he wonders if the team will spend a bit more money on a name like Nick Hundley rather than bringing in familiar faces.
  • The Angels announced today that they have promoted Mike LaCassa to assistant director of player development and promoted Jonathan Strangio to manager of Major League Operations (Twitter link).

Rangers Notes: Lewis, Bogar, Chirinos

We noted earlier today that the Rangers would interview internal candidates Tim Bogar, Mike Maddux and Steve Buechele for their managerial opening. Here’s more end-of-season notes on the Rangers.

  • It sounds like the Rangers might soon re-sign pitcher Colby Lewis — Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram tweets that GM Jon Daniels and Lewis’ agent Alan Nero have recently exchanged texts, and Wilson says that the two sides might come to “a quick resolution.” Lewis, 35, posted a 5.18 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 170 1/3 innings this season after missing the entire 2013 season due to injury.
  • The Rangers have done well under interim manager Tim Bogar, but that won’t have a significant impact on whether the Rangers hire him for the permanent manager position, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest writes. “JD and I have already talked about it,” says Bogar. “It didn’t matter if I went 0-22 or 22-0. It was a lot more about all the other intangibles that go along with this job.”
  • Daniels says he does not expect the Rangers to be involved on key free agent pitchers like Jon Lester or James Shields, writes Andro. “I don’t expect a play at the top end of free agency this year for a variety of reasons,” says Daniels. “I also think there are going to be other ways to acquire quality innings in the rotation.”
  • The Rangers could stick with Robinson Chirinos as their everyday catcher in 2015, says Andro. Sticking with Chirinos might make more sense for the Rangers than, say, signing Russell Martin would — Chirinos was effective in 2014, and top prospect Jorge Alfaro could be ready in 2016.

Quick Hits: Stewart, Hill, Braves, Rangers

MLBTR has been keeping track of all the rumors and candidates tied to the Diamondbacks‘ GM search, and it appears as if Dave Stewart is now “the favorite” to be the team’s next general manager, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.  Stewart will formally interview for the job this week.  Here’s some more news from around baseball…

  • Aaron Hill tells FOX Sports’ Jack Magruder that he wants to remain with the Diamondbacks next season.  Hill has lost September playing time to some of the D’Backs’ young infielders and was shopped before the July trade deadline.  It’s no surprise that Arizona might be looking to the future given that Hill has struggled this season, he’ll be 33 next Opening Day and the second baseman is still owed $24MM through the 2016 season.
  • While the Braves are still on the fringes of the NL wild card race, it looks like this could be a lost season for Atlanta.  MLB.com’s Mark Bowman looks at how the team was hurt by some front office and player (namely, Tim Hudson) losses and Bowman wonders if the Braves could shake up the coaching staff or even consider replacing GM Frank Wren.
  • The Rangers have used 27 different position players this season, and MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan looks at how each of them could fit into the 2015 team as Texas looks to rebound from this injury-riddled campaign.  Sullivan’s comments include his opinion that the Rangers will pick up Alex Rios‘ contract option for 2015 and that the catching situation “may be the most intriguing decision” of the offseason as the team will have to decide if Robinson Chirinos will be the regular catcher.


AL West Notes: Angels, Zduriencik, Chirinos

Wade LeBlanc struggled in his lone start for the Angels and found himself designated for assignment the next day, but manager Mike Scioscia explained to reporters, including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, that the poor outing wasn’t necessarily the cause of the DFA. “This isn’t a reactionary move to a bad outing from last night to say that we’re looking past Wade LeBlanc,” said Scioscia. “Right now, in the short term, we have to because we really don’t have many options for these next couple days, and you need a fresh arm out there.” The Halos are on the hunt for additional starting depth in the final days of August, but it remains to be seen whether GM Jerry Dipoto and his staff can add yet another arm from outside the organization.

Here’s more on the Angels and the AL West…

  • Angels owner Arte Moreno is remaining adamant that his team will not cross the $189MM luxury tax threshold next year, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from rival clubs. The Halos already have $140MM worth of luxury tax commitments on the books, and adding an arm like Bartolo Colon would add $10MM more to that commitment (luxury tax is calculated based on the average annual value of a player’s contract). That makes both Scott Feldman and A.J. Burnett difficult fits as well.
  • Mariners president Kevin Mather told reporters, including MLB.com’s Greg Johns, that extension negotiations with GM Jack Zduriencik didn’t take long. “The question really was, ‘Do you like it here? Are we treating you OK? Are you enjoying your job?'” Mather explained. “[Zduriencik] said, ‘I love it here, my family loves it here.’ I said, ‘Well then let’s stay. Let’s stay.’ Big smile on his face. I said, ‘I guess that’s a yes.'” For his part, Zduriencik expressed his happiness with the extension and with where his organization stands. He did, however, indicate that he’s not about to become complacent: “You’re never satisfied. If I had Mays and Mantle, I’d still be looking for more. That’s just the nature of what you do. But I think we’re on our way to being what we want to become and that’s a world champion.”
  • Robinson Chirinos has impressed the Rangers in his first season of semi-regular playing time and figures to play a “significant” role with the 2015 club, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. While the club hasn’t decided how big a role he will play, minor league catching instructor Hector Ortiz tells Grant that he initially thought Chirinos was a backup type of catcher, but he know thinks there’s more ability in the tank. Chirinos says the team has said they want to see what he can do on an everyday basis over the season’s final weeks, so it certainly seems possible that this is an audition of sorts. The 30-year-old has batted .231/.282/.408 with 11 homers in 288 PAs. He’s also thrown out 38 percent of base stealers.

Rays Receive Cash To Complete Vogt, Chirinos Trades

The Rays have received undisclosed amounts of cash, rather than players to be named later, to complete the Stephen Vogt and Robinson Chirinos trades, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).

The Rays traded Vogt to Oakland back on April 5. The 28-year-old catcher made his MLB debut for the Rays last season but went hitless in 25 at-bats. He's had considerably better fortune at the Triple-A level, where he owns a .302/.363/.503 batting line — thanks in large part to the video game numbers he's put up for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate so far (though those numbers do come with the PCL caveat).

Chirinos was traded to the Rangers on April 8 after being designated for assignment at the end of Spring Training. The 28-year-old was part of the Matt Garza trade between the Rays and Cubs. He has a career .281/.362/.422 batting line at Triple-A. Chirinos is a rare catcher who has extensive experience at both shortstop and second base, though he's worked almost exclusively as a catcher in recent years.


Rangers Acquire Robinson Chirinos

The Rangers acquired catcher Robinson Chirinos from the Rays for a player to be named later, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Chirinos had been designated for assignment on March 31st.

Chirinos, 28, missed the entire 2012 season after suffering a concussion.  In 2011, he hit .259/.343/.376 in 319 Triple-A plate appearances, a disappointing offensive season after a breakout 2010 factored into the Rays acquiring him from the Cubs as part of the Matt Garza trade.  After 2010, Baseball America wrote that Chirinos "always had shown an ability to handle the bat and control the strike zone, and now he has developed power to all fields."  They also praised his work behind the plate.