When you get the opportunity to amp up the vibes by reuniting a veteran backup catcher with Jake Marisnick, it would be irresponsible to pass that up. The team announced Monday that 37-year-old Robinson Chirinos has been signed to a one-year MLB deal to return to the organization after he was traded to Tampa Bay in 2011 as part of the eight-player deal headlined by Matt Garza.
My big takeaway here is that signing Chirinos is a long-overdue apology from the organization for that trade, which is nice.
Chirinos is a career .231 hitter with 100 doubles, four triples, 86 home runs, and 269 RBI in 602 games spanning all or part of nine major league seasons. After coming up with the Rays in 2011, he spent a bulk of his career with the Rangers (2013-18, 2020), then had short stints with Marisnick’s Astros (2019) and also Marisnick’s Mets (2020).
He recorded career highs with 18 home runs and 65 RBI in 113 games with the Rangers in 2018. In 2019 with Houston, he hit 17 home runs and drove in 58 runs with a career-high 51 walks in 114 games. His 1.8 defensive wins above replacement that season ranked third in the American League.
Chirinos hit .278 with a double, three home runs, and six RBI in 13 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees AAA) before he was released on July 3. He originally signed with Chicago as an undrafted free agent in July of 2000 and played 10 minor league seasons in the organization from 2001-10.
In order to make room on the roster, catcher Taylor Gushue was designated for assignment. That’s after Austin Romine, P.J. Higgins, and José Lobatón were injured and Tony Wolters didn’t perform very well. So yeah, that’s six backups for Willson Contreras, who has caught more innings than anyone in MLB other than Christian Vazquez.