After spending a successful season away from Arlington, could fan favorite Robinson Chirinos return to the Texas Rangers?
The Houston Astros got a good one for the 2019 season, bringing in a veteran backstop to fill in for a depleted catching core. Robinson Chirinos, 35, turned in another solid season as he had the second highest average in his career at .238, and slugged .443 after leaving the Texas Rangers in free agency. On top of of that, Chirinos drove in 58 runs, only the second time he’s driven in 50+ in his career. With Texas considering potential options at catcher moving forward, could a reunion with Chirinos be in the works? In a tweet sent out today by T.R Sullivan, the Rangers and Chirinos have mutual interest in brining the veteran back to Arlington.
How Would This Affect the Rangers?
The End of the Jeff Mathis Era in Texas
Jeff Mathis was brought in to be the defensive-minded catcher that was to take the youthful Rangers pitching staff to the next level. The only issue was that Mathis was awful offensively and was a liability at the plate. For the Rangers, eating the remaining $3 million dollars or so on his contract may not be so bad. If a Chirinos-Rangers reunion were to come to fruition, it’s hard to imagine why Texas would keep Mathis around.
Much Needed Leadership
The 2018 Rangers had a lot they needed to work on, especially finishing in the cellar of the A.L. West. Most in the organization knew that the beloved Adrian Beltre was going to retire at season’s end, so the club needed a few fearless leaders to begin to step up. Fans on the outside automatically assumed the next man in line was Elvis Andrus or Shin Soo Choo, and they’d be correct to a certain extent. On the inside though, it was Chirinos who held a significant leadership role in the clubhouse. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wrote a column in 2017 on Chirinos’ leadership role after a crazy 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals.
If being compared to one of the greatest leaders in Ranger’s history isn’t enough, here is Jose Altuve on how his good friend would impact the 2019 Houston Astros.
Chirinos is exactly what the Texas Rangers need in a transition period between the rebuild and getting back into contention. Leadership, a quality bat, respectable defense and a big hearted guy who loves the community. All of these things should be taken into consideration when attempting to bring back a player like Chirinos. This move would be a win with a lot of the Rangers faithful and could help improve the product on the field as well.