Robinson Chirinos
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Rangers decline option on 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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.