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.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.