Chirinos would 'love' to return on 2019 option

August 29th, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The contract extension that catcher Tyler Flowers received from the Braves this week is a reminder the Rangers are sitting with a club-favorable option on for next season.

The Rangers have a $2.375 million option on Chirinos for 2019. The salary can go up based on total plate appearances, but it will still be shy of the $4 million that Flowers received from the Braves for next season. Flowers, who shares the position with , also agreed to a $6 million option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout.

"Good for him," Chirinos said. "I knew he was going to be a free agent."

Flowers' contract might suggest Chirinos is being underpaid for a No. 1 catcher.

"I don't know, we'll see after the season what they are going to do," Chirinos said. "They haven't said if they are going to pick up the option. I'd love to be here and help this team win the World Series. We'll see what happens after the season."

Chirinos was signed for 2017 and agreed in Spring Training that year to an extension that covered '18 with the option for next year. Without the option, Chirinos would have been a free agent after this season. He does not regret the decision.

"Never," Chirinos said. "I'm happy where I am at and my family is happy where I am at. I'm in the right place for the right money."

At the time of the extension, Chirinos was a backup to . The Rangers ended up trading Lucroy on July 30 last year and Chirinos has been the club's No. 1 ever since. He went into Wednesday's game hitting .219 but with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs. His .771 OPS as a catcher ranked him fifth among 17 qualifying players at the position.

The negative is Chirinos has thrown out just three of 51 attempted basestealers. That's the lowest rate in the American League.

The Rangers' internal options for next year are limited. has played well as the backup catcher but he is still new at the position and may not be ready for a full-time role. Top prospect , ranked No. 26 in the Rangers' system by MLB Pipeline, had his season cut short by surgery on his left shoulder.

There will be three front-line catchers available on the free-agent market in of the Dodgers, of the Astros and of the Phillies. But the Rangers are also going to be in a position where they need to spend much of their available resources on starting pitching.

Picking up Chirinos' option appears to be a prudent move for the Rangers, although a decision isn't due until after the World Series.

"He has done a very good job," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He is a tremendous person and a very good player."