Rangers News and Notes

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, January 17th, 2020

Image result for Todd Frazier

By Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                                                            dhumphrey24@gmail.com                                                                                                                                                                               

The rumored signings of free agents Todd Frazier and Robinson Chirinos were finally announced by the ball club Wednesday after the players passed their physicals.  Frazier appears to be the Rangers’ regular third baseman at this point.  He hit .251 with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs last year for the New York Mets.  He was especially good against left-handed pitching with a .294 batting average and .913 OPS.  

    Frazier is regarded as a solid third baseman defensively and can also play first base.  He is not Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson, the two most highly regarded third base free agents this winter, but he is not a bad consolation prize.  His contract with the Rangers guarantees $5.0 million with a $3.5 million salary this season, and a team option for 2021 at $5.75 million with a buyout of $1.5 million if not exercised.

    Chirinos returns to the Rangers after spending a season in Houston in which he hit .238 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs.  The Rangers let him become a free agent before the 2019 season by failing to exercise a team option for the season.  Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels has admitted that he made a mistake by not keeping Chirinos.  Ranger catchers in 2019 had the worst offensive production in the Major Leagues at the catching position.  Chirinos’s 2020 contract calls for a $5.75 million salary with a team option at $6.5 million in 2021 with a $1,000,000 buyout if it is not exercised.  The Rangers finished last season with Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino as the catching tandem.  They announced this week that they anticipate Chirinos and Mathis to be the catching tandem to start this season with Trevino going to AAA.  Rosters have expanded this year to 26 players, but the Rangers apparently will not choose to use the extra roster spot for a third catcher. 

To make room on the 40-man roster for Frazier and Chirinos, the Rangers designated left-handed pitchers Kyle Bird and Jeffrey Springs for assignment.  Springs was subsequently traded to Boston for outfielder/first baseman Sam Travis, who was assigned to AAA Nashville with an invitation to Spring Training.  Travis is a right handed hitter that has a .919 OPS against left-handed pitching in the minor leagues.  He has a realistic chance of making the Rangers’ opening day roster.   

Texas is still looking for another strong right-handed bat.  They have been linked to be free agents Marcel Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos.  Ozuna seems more interested in signing with St. Louis, his former team; so Castellanos looks to be more likely.  Castellanos has played third base, but has primarily been an outfielder.  The Rangers however seem to also view him as a first base possibility.  

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