Robinson Chirinos
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Rangers, Robinson Chirinos nearing contract agreement

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Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers and free agent catcher Robinson Chirinos are “inching closer to completing a deal.”

Chirinos, 35, spent last season with the Astros, helping them reach the World Series where they lost in seven games to the Nationals. During the regular season, Chirinos hit .238/.347/.443 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI over 437 trips to the plate. He earned high grades for his defense, playing a big part in his career-best 3.8 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

Chirinos would be the full-time catcher for the Rangers, backed up by either Jeff Mathis or Jose Trevino. They will handle a rotation that includes newcomers Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson, and Jordan Lyles as well as returning hurlers Mike Minor and Lance Lynn.

The Rangers and Chirinos are no strangers to each other as the backstop spent his 2013-18 seasons in Arlington.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.