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Chirinos heading back to Rangers (source)

@Sullivan_Ranger
January 7, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos have agreed to a one-year deal with a 2021 club option, pending a physical, a source tells MLB.com. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the news. A source tells MLB.com's Mark Feinsand the deal is worth $5.75

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos have agreed to a one-year deal with a 2021 club option, pending a physical, a source tells MLB.com.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the news. A source tells MLB.com's Mark Feinsand the deal is worth $5.75 million, with the option worth $6.5 million with a $1 million buyout. The club has not confirmed the deal.

The Rangers met with Chirinos’ agents at the Winter Meetings and general manager Jon Daniels said at the time the club still has a high opinion of the veteran catcher. The Rangers have been considering upgrades at the catching position since the offseason began.

The move would add Chirinos to a catching situation that already includes Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino.

Chirinos would likely be the Rangers’ No. 1 catcher, leaving the club with two options for the No. 2 spot. They could go with Mathis as the backup and give Trevino more development time at Triple-A. They could also go with Trevino and cut ties with Mathis, who is signed this season for $3 million. The Rangers likely won’t make that decision until Spring Training.

Chirinos was the Astros’ No. 1 catcher in 2019 and helped them win the American League pennant before losing to the Nationals in the World Series. He started 106 games for the Astros behind the plate and hit .238 with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs and a .443 slugging percentage.

Chirinos was with the Rangers from 2013-18 and was their Opening Day catcher in 2015-16 and again in 2018. The Rangers declined a club option for 2019 because they wanted to upgrade defensively at catcher. But Mathis hit just .158 with a .209 on-base percentage and a .224 slugging percentage last year.

The Rangers have three veteran catchers coming to Spring Training on Minor League invites in Tim Federowicz, Nick Ciuffo and Blake Swihart. Top catching prospect Sam Huff will also be in big league camp. Swihart can play multiple positions but is expected to be given a chance to catch in Spring Training.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.