Free Agent Target – Robinson Chirinos

The Pirates still need a catcher and currently the best option in the free agent market is Robinson Chirinos.

Jason Castro now is off the market signing a one year deal with the Angels for $6.85M. That should give us a fair idea what it would take to get Chininos.

Chininos has had an up and down career since entering the league in 2011. One year he gives a near two fWAR the next barely in the positive. On defense, he makes the plays he should with some pretty poor pitch framing. With computerized strike zones coming this won’t make much of a difference if Robinson is still playing if and when that is implemented.

Robinson’s bat has been fairly decent the past few years posting a 100+ wRC+ with a slash line of .234/.340/.452/.792 during that time. What he lacks in average he makes up for on his OBP and Slugging. Not all-star worth numbers but still quality from the catchers position.

His glove won’t win him over much here in Pittsburgh but it is a fair bet his bat is a good amount better than Jacob Stallings. Putting them two in to spring training camp to battle it out and then who ever is doing better, start.

MLB Trade Rumors predicts a two year, $10m deal. Going a bit above that would be acceptable. Two year $12M with a third year option for 6m with 2m buy out seems reasonable.

Someone might see his pretty good performance last year and bid higher. For the Pirates going any higher is a risk that is too large to take. There is a fair chance Jacob would beat him out coming out of spring due to his defense and paying more than 6m/year for someone who may end up being the second guy and not worth pushing it.

Also at $6m a year someone might be interested in trading for him before the end of his deal. Likely wouldn’t be a huge return but the contract would give us a quality back up at worst, some trade bait later down the road while not putting a huge hole in the pocket.