The latest Reds rumors would indicate that the Cincinnati Reds are looking for more offense from the catcher’s spot. Robinson Chirinos is on the Reds radar.
The Cincinnati Reds have long thought to be in the market for a new catcher this offseason. If the whispers surrounding the Reds interest in Yasmani Grandal weren’t enough, apparently Cincinnati is kicking the tires on another potential backstop. Robinson Chirinos is said to be interested in the 35-year-old catcher.
Mark Feinstein of MLB.com is reporting that the Reds have joined the growing number of teams who are interested in Chirinos. Among the other clubs listed are the New York Mets, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers.
On the surface, a lot of fans may cringe at the thought of adding an aging catcher to next year’s team, but Chirinos had a very productive season at the dish. Chirinos slashed .238/.347/.443 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs in 114 games played. Over his last five seasons in the big leagues, Chirinos has a combined OPS of .792.
To be honest, when you put Chirinos’ numbers side-by-side with Tucker Barnhart, there’s not a great deal of difference, with the exception of the power numbers. Over the past three seasons, Chirinos has 50 doubles, 52 home runs and 161 RBIs with a .451 slugging percentage. Barnhart has 59 doubles, 28 homers and 130 RBIs with a .384 slugging percentage.
MLB Trade Rumors views Robinson Chirinos as the 33rd best free agent available this offseason, and estimates he’ll take home a two-year contract worth $10M. That’s obviously a giant step down in terms of salary from what Yasmani Grandal will likely take home, but Chirinos is not a terrific pitch framer and doesn’t put up great defensive statistics behind the plate.
When it comes to pitch framing, Grandal is one of the best with 17 framing runs above average (FRM) last season. Barnhart’s numbers in that category don’t rival Grandal’s, but he did improve in the category with 4.1 FRM. Chirinos on the other hand, had a -5.6 FRM last season.
If we’re to believe the latest Reds rumors, it’s pretty clear that Dick Williams, Nick Krall and the Cincinnati front office are looking to upgrade the offense. In the end, I don’t expect the Reds to actively pursue Chirinos, but it’s a sure sign that what the Reds catching duo put up in 2019 will not be enough heading into next season.