Trade deadline rumors are heating up and Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has been at the center of them. If the team decides to move Lucroy could Robinson Chirinos actually fill the shoes of a full-time catcher?
The likelihood of the Texas Rangers moving on from catcher Jonathan Lucroy continues to grow. The 31-year-old catcher is set to become a free agent after the season, and the Rangers don’t seem interested in a long-term extension.
If the rumors are true, and Lucroy does end up elsewhere can Robinson Chirinos hold down the starting catching job? This season Chirinos is hitting .224 with 12 home runs and 25 RBI in 37 games.
Those aren’t exactly “starting catcher” offensive statistics, but Chirinos does seem to have some pop in his bat. His career high is 13 home runs and that was in 93 games during the 2014 season. He brings a solid approach to the plate, and could likely hold down the job short-term.
The Rangers took care of Chirinos during the off-season and signed him through 2018 with a team option for ’19. A team friendly deal for just $4.3 million, and could potentially be a steal for Texas.
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The 33-year-old has played less than 300 games over the course of six MLB seasons. It’s unlikely Chirinos develops into an everyday catcher at this point in his career. He could take over for Lucroy though if the team decides to move him.
If Lucroy gets moved that means the Rangers are most likely sellers at the deadline. Which means Chirinos starting isn’t really going to hurt the team. The organization can then fill the starting catcher role in the off-season.
At best Chirinos looks like an above average backup catcher. Hard to imagine him ever being more than that at the MLB level. The Rangers could have him starting in August, but they likely threw in the towel if he’s behind the plate everyday.