The Texas Rangers saw a breakout season from catcher Robinson Chirinos in 2017. He seems like a lock for starting catcher, but adding Alex Avila as insurance would be a smart move.
Lucroy was traded to the Colorado Rockies and this move opened up a door for Robinson Chirinos. Before the All-Star break Chirinos was hitting .218 and didn’t look like more than just a backup catcher.
The 33-year-old came alive in the second half and ran away with the catching job. He hit .285 with five home runs and 13 RBI post All-Star break. He finished with a .255 average and a career-high 17 homers and 38 RBI in 2017.
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The bad news is that Chirinos has been a backup catcher basically his entire career. He hasn’t played in over 90 games in a single season since 2014. He put together a fantastic second half, but maybe don’t pencil him in for 120 games just yet.
This is where signing a player like Alex Avila becomes huge this off-season. The 30-year-old catcher hit .264 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI in 112 games last season. He’s a left-handed veteran bat that could be a huge addition to the Rangers.
Avila isn’t going to be expensive as he made just $2 million last season. At this point in his career he’s more of a platoon type hitter anyway. A two-year $6 million deal is reasonable, and an absolute steal for the Rangers.
The fact of the matter is that the Rangers can’t be certain Chirinos can take on that everyday role. They don’t have the depth to help him out, but acquiring Avila gives them that. This way both players can platoon and play around 80 games or so each.
This deal makes sense for Texas, so they don’t put too much pressure on Chirinos. It’s not a move that’s going to win them the AL West, but does give the Rangers a reliable catching duo for the 2018 season.