Texas Rangers: Spring Training battle for catcher could get interesting

NAGOYA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 15: Catcher Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers is seen in the top of 1st inning during the game six between Japan and MLB All Stars at Nagoya Dome on November 15, 2018 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
NAGOYA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 15: Catcher Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers is seen in the top of 1st inning during the game six between Japan and MLB All Stars at Nagoya Dome on November 15, 2018 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers points out to Isiah Kiner-Falefa #9 after scoring during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 15, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers points out to Isiah Kiner-Falefa #9 after scoring during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 15, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

2020 Outlook

The addition of Robinson Chirinos cannot be overstated in terms of impact he should make regarding the production of Texas Rangers catchers. He by far becomes the best hitter the club has at their disposal in the big leagues and arguably one of the better defensive options as well based off 2019 metrics. He’ll be locked in as one of the two Major League catchers have when they open the season with the only question being who joins the tandem.

The battle seems to be between veteran Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino. In purely production terms, Trevino provided much more value than Mathis out producing him at the plate and showing off why he was a two-time Minor League Gold Glove winner in the minors. However, Mathis has the notion that Rangers pitchers enjoy pitching to him working in his favor. Both Mike Minor and Lance Lynn put up stellar seasons on the mound in 2019 with Mathis receiving vocal credit. Texas will hope their trio of new starters, Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles will see similar success and if Mathis can help with that, he might have the edge coming out of Spring Training. He’s owed $3 million in 2020 and if the Rangers opt for Trevino, they have to eat that salary. Trevino on the other hand still has minor league options meaning he can be sent to Triple-A to start next season.

The most likely outcome is that the Rangers opt for a Chirinos and Mathis pairing to open the year. Chirinos should be able to take a lot of the load from Mathis who played 86 games last season, the highest total of his career since 2008. Hopes are that a decreased workload can help Mathis be more productive. However, it’s likely to be a short leash with the Rangers looking to compete this upcoming season. If Mathis starts slow out of the gates, it might not take long before Texas decides to recall Jose Trevino and have him pair with Chirinos for the remainder of the season. Isiah Kiner-Falefa could get some time behind the plate as well considering he brings with him the ability to play throughout the infield meaning he could make the roster as a utility man and emergency third catcher.

Next. Will Jonathan Hernandez be in the majors to start 2020?. dark

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