In the FanSided Winter Meetings simulation, the Astros turned to a familiar face in Chirinos to address the catcher position.
It’s been an active FanSided Winter Meetings simulation, as we’ve already traded Josh Reddick and agreed to a contract extension with George Springer. What’s left on the to-do list is to address holes on the Astros pitching staff and behind the plate, and we dealt with the latter in a somewhat predictable way by re-signing Robinson Chirinos.
Now for those fans who wanted Yasmani Grandal, it didn’t happen in reality and it wasn’t happening in the simulation either. In our simulation, he returned to the Brewers on a four-year, $88 million deal. In reality, he signed with the White Sox for $73 million over four years.
In either event, the Astros are in no position to outbid anyone. They have limited flexibility and simply can’t afford to take on any high-priced players without moving significant salary off the books. Reddick alone wouldn’t be enough.
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Initially, I put out offers to both Chirinos and Martin Maldonado, hoping to recreate the tandem that worked well for the Astros in the second half of the season. Surprisingly, the market for Maldonado was much more robust in the simulation than the market for Chirinos.
In fact, the bidding for Maldonado got to a point where I simply wasn’t willing to keep going. The Angels guaranteed him $11 million over two years, so they came away with a Maldonado reunion in the simulation.
For Chirinos, there was little competition, so we were able to bring him back on a one-year, $5 million deal. He provided a solid bat for his position and handled Justin Verlander quite well, so getting him back to Houston was an easy decision.
Now as far as the second part of the catching tandem, the Astros do have Garrett Stubbs on hand. Whether the plan is to use him as the backup or not, there will still need to be another catcher brought in. If Stubbs makes the big league roster next season, they will need depth at Triple-A in case of an injury.
At this point, I’ve not signed a second catcher, as the pitching staff took priority. With so little payroll space to work with, what I would eventually do is bring in a veteran on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
If the Astros are intent on bringing Chirinos back, they’ll need to move quickly, as the catching market appears to be moving faster than others with Grandal already off the board. A Chirinos-Stubbs combo, with additional depth in the minors, isn’t a bad way to go on a limited budget.