8:44pm: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that Chirinos is guaranteed $6.75MM on the deal: a $5.75MM salary in 2020 (which matches his 2019 salary), plus at least a $1MM buyout on a $6.5MM club option for the 2021 season.
8:36pm: Chirinos and the Rangers are in agreement on a one-year deal plus an option, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
8:28pm: The Rangers and free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos have agreed to a reunion, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). The new contract is pending a physical. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported earlier tonight that the two sides were “inching closer” to a deal.
Chirinos, 35, just wrapped up a .238/.347/.443 showing with the Astros, swatting 17 home runs and 22 doubles in a career-high 366 plate appearances. Even if he takes a step back, Chirinos will provide a substantial offensive upgrade to a Rangers club that saw its catchers post a disastrous .193/.241/.298 batting line as a whole in 2019.
Texas made the somewhat surprising decision last winter to buy out a seemingly reasonable $4.5MM option over Chirinos. Texas, placing a greater emphasis on defense, moved to sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $6.25MM deal that yielded poor results in 2019. Chirinos, meanwhile, came out ahead from a financial standpoint. Texas paid him a $1MM buyout, and he went on to sign with the Astros for a $5.75MM guarantee. Between that deal and the option buyout, he took home a tidy $2.25MM more than he’d have earned had the Rangers simply picked up his option.
Now, Texas is on the hook for $3MM of Mathis’ salary in 2020 despite the fact that he turned in the worst offensive and defensive season of his career in 2019. Through 244 plate appearances, Mathis posted a stunning .158/.209/.224 batting line (11 OPS+, 2 wRC+). And just one year after leading all MLB catchers in Defensive Runs Saved (17) and Baseball Prospectus’ Fielding Runs Above Average (18.4), Mathis saw those numbers crater at -1 and -2.8, respectively.
The Rangers will have to make a call on what to do with Mathis and his remaining salary, although it’s possible that he could work as a backup to Chirinos. The younger Jose Trevino has a minor league option remaining, so he could be sent to Triple-A to begin the season, particularly considering that he struggled considerably both in the Majors (.258/.272/.383 in 126 plate appearances) and in Triple-A (.226/.263/.336 in 156 plate appearances).
Given the dismal performances of Mathis, Trevino and infielder-turned-catcher-turned-infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa in 2019, it’s hardly a surprise that the Rangers prioritized catching help this winter. And while Chirinos isn’t exactly a standout defensive backstop, he did show some improvements in 2019 with Houston. He hasn’t excelled at controlling the running game since 2014, and that trend continued last year (21 percent caught-stealing rate), but Chirinos posted improved (albeit still below-average) framing marks and was the league’s best at blocking balls in the dirt, per Baseball Prospectus.
Welcome back Robbie!
Was this guy the #4 free agent left on the market? I assume it had to be Chirinos, Alex Wood, or Yasiel Puig. I know Josh Donaldson is #1, Nick Castellanos is #2 and Marcell Ozuna is #3. Wasn’t this article posted a while ago? Why is it posted again with no time stamped update?
What’s your question?
What wasn’t his question is the better question.
Good! Now add a 3b.
Welcome back to the rangers Chirinos
Good job Daniels.
You think he is getting 4 years? 10 mil a year? Are you on drugs?
Solid move. He was good before the trash can. I thought he was a guy worth signing.
Now let’s go get Nicholas
He can hold the fort until Realmoto signs next year.
Unlikely, the Phillies are aggressively trying to extend him
They’ve been “aggressively trying to extend him” since they acquired him over a year ago. What’s the hold-up?
He’s the best catcher in MLB at a time when quality catchers are in short supply. Still relatively young. Along with Betts he’ll be the top free agent next off-season.
He can get a monster contract and play wherever he wants. He’s from Oklahoma and wants to get back to that area of the country. The Astros would love him, but they’re maxed out on salary, with penalties to come. The Rangers seem like the best bet with a new park and a commitment to pitching. Interested contending teams looking for a solid catcher include: Angels, Mets, Braves, Red Sox, Brewers, Reds, and Nationals. A few other teams that may improve enough in a year to be interested include the Giants and Rockies.
The Phillies are going in circles. Come on, if he loved it in Philly it appears he’d have signed by now. Every few months there’s a column here about the Phillies working hard at signing him. Am sure they are. Am sure his agent says the market will be wide open for him.
Great news for Rangers. Now get Castellanos to play first and Frazier to play third or pull off a trade for Bryant or Arenado.
Neither Verlander (Chirinos) or Cole (Maldonado) will have their catcher of the last two years for the 2020 season barring a trade. That could have an impact on either ir both starters.
Chirinos only played in Houston for a year and Maldonado wasn’t on Houston for over half the year last year.
I thought Cole liked Stassi. He can have him back if so.
Really digging deep to find a reason to bash 2 former Astros here! Isn’t there enough actual crap going on in Houston for you to not make something up?
Robinson Chirinos has been an Astro for one season. And Martin Maldonado has been an Astro for exactly 2 half seasons! What does that mean? That other catchers have caught them a whole lot the past 2 seasons?! No, it can’t be!!!
Where is the bashing? I am saying that when pitchers get comfortable throwing to a certain catcher, it can sometimes have an impact on their performance when that changes. Cole and Verlander each had possibly their best season last year and I am sure that their respective catcher had something to do with it.
Wow, overreact much? His point is, “that could have an impact . . .” Seems to be a fair assessment. How is that bashing?
Yeah, what he said wasn’t bashing… He could’ve said that the White Sox getting Grandal to replace Mccann could have an effect on Giolito next year, and thats not bashing. It’s just an assessment of what could happen to a certain player after you adjust a few variables (like the catcher). Cole has pretty much flat out said that if he is on the bump, Maldonaldo will catch him (of course if Maldonaldo is on the team). And almost every start last year Verlander caught Chirinos, and he had a terrific season.
So yes Cole and Verlander can still pitch just fine, but what he’s saying is that maybe the change will effect them in a negative way.
Oh thank god! I hope Chirinos retires a ranger, and I also hope that he hits .450 with a 1.500 ops against the astros.
Good job TX! Nice signing for you…
I’m just curious Steve Adams, when free agents sign with teams, the MLBTR crew photoshops the aforementioned free agent into the new team’s uniform. Since Chirinos was a Ranger just a year ago, will the MLBTR crew photoshop him into a Ranger’s uniform, or will it be a old picture of him as a Ranger?
That’s like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop…the world may never know
in today’s edition of “What Rangers Fans Think About During the Offseason”…
He’s like, I love Texas but I don’t want Houston f’n my life too. Rangers it is!
Good move — now sign Ozuna and Frazier
So strange to see people hoping their team signs the Todd Father, to be a starter.
A year with Frazier at third is a big upgrade from what we had last year. I would take it in a minute because I do not and have not liked Donaldson for a long time. If they can pull off a trade for Bryant or Arenado I would love that, but I would still consider Frazier to play first if Castellanos goes elsewhere.
Going off of what @pbjls said, if the rangers got Todd Fraizer, we’d still have the budget to go get Castellanos and a few arms for the pen. What people don’t realize is that the rangers still have tons of money to work with after missing on Rendon. And yes, I hate to say it, but ToddFather is an upgrade.
s29… what bullpen arms are you hoping the rangers target
Jon Daniels has said that the Rangers are looking for upgrades at 1st, catcher, and relief. Well we got our catcher, so now on to the latter two. But IMO, I’d like to see us go get Reyes Moronta, just somebody to pair with Leclerc and Montero in the pen for a good 7,8,9. Moranta put up good stats last year, but he does have a walk issue so we’d have to deal with that. I was hoping that the Rangers would resign C. Martin or go get Harris, cause then the I’d say the pen is set with Montero, Harris, Leclerc.
Perhaps they will go get Bartolo 😉
Astros couldn’t afford this?
they’re probably looking for Manager and GM replacements first since both are most likely gone for at least a year.
Rangers gonna be tough this year.
Just eat that Mathis contract and buy him out. Chirinos and Trevino have to be our catching duo. Trevino needs to learn from someone like Chirinos in the majors.
Surprised Chirinos got a lower guarantee than Castro.
How’d he not get 2 yrs guaranteed?!? Even with a 3rd yr option?!? Best of luck to ya!
They formally signed him today, you can update the post title. 😉