Finding an everyday catcher in the MLB is not an easy task. The Rangers traded catcher Jonathan Lucroy at the trade deadline with hopes that veteran Robinson Chirinos could take over for him. Does Chirinos have a chance at the starting catcher position in 2018?
It has been a rough year behind the plate for the Texas Rangers. The organization started the season with two-time All-Star Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate. Having a catcher of that caliber should mean no worries for the organization, but that was not the case.
During his 77 games with the Rangers in 2017 Lucroy hit .242 with four home runs and 27 RBI. It was a terrible stretch of play for 31-year-old veteran catcher. The organization decided to trade the soon to be free agent Lucroy and hope for the best.
Now that Lucroy is out of the picture 33-year-old Robinson Chirinos will get an opportunity. The Rangers extended Chirinos through 2018 with a team option for 2019. The organization believes Chirinos has something legitimate to offer the Rangers.
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Since the All-Star break Chirinos is hitting .283 with two home runs and seven RBI in 22 games. He’s been a reliable bat since July and is fourth on the team in OBP since the break. Will this stretch of play last long-term?
Over the course of six seasons with Texas Chirinos is hitting .232 with 47 home runs and 133 RBI. It’s unlikely that he will become a superstar catcher overnight. The Rangers do see potential in Chirinos, but everyday catcher is unlikely.
This off-season the Rangers should look to acquire another experienced catcher. The organization doesn’t need to open their wallet to Lucroy or other All-Star free agents. The majority of the payroll should be used elsewhere throughout the organization.
Having Chirinos gives the Rangers an above average backup catcher. The organization can go into free agency and get a player like Alex Avila in free agency. A left-handed veteran catcher that doesn’t necessarily need to catch everyday.
A duo of Chirinos and an Avila type player should be enough for the Rangers in 2018. Chirinos is a solid player, but it’s unlikely he could catch everyday on a contending team.