As the hot stove continues to warm during Winter Meetings (Gerrit Cole signs before February! Didi Gregorius could have been signed for a mere $14MM on a one-year deal!), the Tigers have yet to make any moves. Al Avila has had a lot to say, but so far there has been no action. If a recent report from Jon Morosi is to be believed (and there’s no reason not to trust Morosi), they might very well be ready to make a move on their most-needed position, that of catcher.
It appears that the Tigers, who have made it clear they’re hunting for a catcher, and one who could very well take a starting role, have their eye on Robinson Chirinos, who most recently went all the way to the World Series with the Astros in 2019.
Chirinos, 35, is a bit on the older side for a multi-year deal, but would be an ideal fit for the Tigers, who are on the hunt for a short-term veteran catcher to pair with their young pitchers and help guide the likes of Jake Rogers and Grayson Greiner.
In 2019 he played an impressive 114 games for the Astros and hit .238/.347/.443 with 17 home runs. His caught stealing percentage (CS%) was 21%, which is not the best of the free agent market, but showed a steep improvement over his 10% in 2018.
Over eight seasons — he started his career in Tampa Bay, then went on to catch six seasons for the Texas Rangers, before landing with the Astros — he has a career average of .234/.329/.439. He had an incredible 113 wRC+ in 2019, and in fact has posted above-average wRC+ in his past four major league seasons.
The only major injury of his career came in 2016 when he broke his right forearm with the Rangers and was placed on the 60-day injured list. Since then, he has not shown any decline in his durability, managing to increase his game appearances in the last two years to play in over 100 games a season.
Chirinos, if the Tigers can get him, would be a great addition to the team and an ideal fit for what the Tigers need from a regular platoon catcher, who could potentially take the bulk of games over the season.