The Chicago White Sox have signed free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal. That puts the former Astros backstop Robinson Chirinos at the top of the board.
The offseason hot stove is already heating up. It seems as if teams aren’t wasting any time this year plucking free agents off the market. The Atlanta Braves took top relief pitcher Chris Martin and now the White Sox signed top free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal. Should the Astros ramp up their efforts to re-sign Robinson Chirinos?
Grandal and the White Sox have agreed to a four-year deal worth $73 million. That will give him $18.25 million a season with some no-trade clauses included. The 31-year-old was considered the number one catcher on the free-agent board with a WAR of 5.2, well ahead of the rest of the pack.
But go one more down on the list of available catchers and you’ll find Robinson Chirinos next in line with a 2.3 WAR. Below him is Jason Castro coming in with a 1.6 WAR. So that seems to put Chirinos as the top catcher left on the market and several teams are already showing interest.
The New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and the Cincinnati Reds have all been rumored to having Chirinos on their radars. Per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Mets have been in contact with Chirinos. New York still has Wilson Ramos and Tomas Nido on their roster, so I’m not sure how Chirinos would fit in or who would go to make room for him.
The Texas Rangers are also supposedly in the mix for Chirinos, according to Mark Feinsand. One of the biggest needs for Texas this offseason is to bolster their catching position and a reunion with Chirinos may be in the cards. He played for the Rangers for six years before coming south to the Astros prior to last season.
With Grandal now off the market and Garrett Stubbs the only catcher currently on Houston’s roster, the Astros may need to accelerate the process in filling a huge hole. Chirinos played an important role in the Astros success and I think he’d be a welcome sight back in the Houston clubhouse. I’d be willing to bet Justin Verlander would agree, as the two developed a close relationship last season.