Per reports, the Texas Rangers have come to an agreement with free agent Robinson Chirinos to return to Arlington next season.
The Texas Rangers have added another free agent signing to their offseason per reports. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the club has agreed a deal with catcher Robinson Chirinos to reunite in Arlington for next season. The deal is reportedly pending a physical and confirms the report from Evan Grant earlier Tuesday evening that the two parties were nearing an agreement. Rosenthal goes on to report that the deal with Chirinos is for one season with Texas holding a club option for the 2021 season.
Chirinos spent the 2019 season with the Rangers in-state rivals, the Houston Astros, and helped them on a run to a World Series appearance. He hit .238 last season with a .790 OPS and 17 homers in 114 games for Houston. He also posted a career high 2.3 fWAR last season.
His time with the Astros came after six seasons with Texas in which he emerged as a true fan favorite. With Texas, he played 442 games and was a .233 hitter. He hit 67 home runs in that six year span and drove in 197 runs while helping the Rangers to a pair of AL West titles.
Catcher was a position of priority for the Rangers this offseason after their 2019 group posted poor offensive and defensive numbers, generating one of the least productive groups in baseball. Jeff Mathis particularly had a down year and drew the ire of Rangers fans due to his .158 average and .433 OPS in 86 games. With Chirinos coming in, it likely spells the end of Jeff Mathis’ time in Arlington as the club will opt for the 35-year old Chirinos with 27-year old Jose Trevino who maintains team control through 2025 and had a bit of a breakout season at the end of last year.
Chirinos joins pitchers Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles as notable additions to the Rangers roster this offseason. The club is still considered in play for top outfield free agents Nick Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna as well as being connected to a potential Nolan Arenado trade. Chirinos’ signing helps boost a position of need but shouldn’t take them out of play for any other significant moves.
Updated (9:07 PM) Mark Feinsand of MLB.com is reporting that the Chirinos contract is for $5.75 million in 2020 with a club option of $6.5 million in 2021. Buyout after 2020 is $1 million.