Rangers decline option on Robinson Chirinos

Robinson Chirinos
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Amid a flurry of moves on Friday, the Rangers declined a $4.5 million club option on catcher Robinson Chirinos. According to comments from general manager Jon Daniels, the team hasn’t officially closed the door on a reunion with their starting backstop, but would prefer to explore alternatives to Chirinos (and 25-year-old backup catcher Jose Trevino) as more free agents become available over the offseason.

Chirinos, 34, rounded out his sixth campaign with the Rangers in 2018. Despite some defensive struggles, he made a compelling case for his return in 2019 after registering a career-high 18 home runs and 65 RBI while batting .222/.338/.419 through 426 plate appearances. Per MLB.com’s TR Sullivan, he was in line to receive a base salary of $2.375 million for the 2019 season, with incentives that brought the total price tag up to the $4.5 million mark.

The Rangers also declined contract options on left-handers Doug Fister and Martin Pérez and right-hander Matt Moore. Right-handers Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Clayton Blackburn, lefty Brandon Mann, catcher Carlos Pérez, and first baseman/outfielder Ryan Rua were all outrighted to Triple-A Nashville to clear space on the 40-man roster.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.