Should the Texas Rangers Acquire Catcher J.T. Realmuto?
By Andrew Webb
It’s been quite some time since the Texas Rangers had a catcher they could count on behind the plate. Could trading for J.T. Realmuto give Texas their franchise catcher?
Heading into 2018, the Texas Rangers are expected to use Robinson Chirinos as their starting catcher. The 33-year-old came alive in the second half of 2017, hitting .285 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 50 games after the All-Star break.
Before the All-Star break, Chirinos was hitting a lousy .218 in 38 games as the backup to Jonathan Lucroy. The Rangers are expecting Chirinos to pick up where he left off last season, but it might not be that easy.
Over the course of six Major League seasons, Chirinos is a career .238 hitter. He’s played in over 80 games just twice, and has walked more than 20 times just twice as well. He’s not exactly starter material, despite is red-hot finish to 2017.
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The Miami Marlins are in the beginning of a rebuild, and are fielding offers for 26-year-old catcher J.T. Realmuto. Last season, Realmuto hit .278 with 17 home runs and 65 RBI in 141 games with the Marlins.
Realmuto has been the starting catcher in Miami for three seasons, and has never finished with a WAR under 2. He still has three years of control before being eligible for free agency, and that will definitely drive up his price tag.
The last time Texas went after a “franchise catcher” it backfired. They gave up highly regarded prospects for Lucroy, and it didn’t pan out as expected. To be fair, Lucroy did his part while in Arlington, but Texas didn’t do too much winning.
Yes, the Rangers could sit back and see if Chirinos can be starter for a season. The better option would be to realize Chirinos is a quality backup, and pay the price for a legitimate catcher such as Realmuto.
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It’s not all about 2018, it’s about building an organization that can be competitive for more than one season. Realmuto gives the Rangers a future star at catcher, but Jon Daniels will likely be hesitant to pull the trigger on this one.