The Pittsburgh Pirates have made it clear that they want to upgrade their depth behind the plate from the big league club through the minors. A key free agent is expected to be coming off the board soon.
The Winter Meetings were relatively slow for the Pittsburgh Pirates this year. While it is easy to complain about the lack of movement and/or rumors surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates, it has been reported that the team was focusing on filling out the coaching staff and front office before making any major personnel changes. Also, new General Manager Ben Cherington was hired a short time before the Meetings started, putting him behind the eight ball.
There were a few different rumors that did come out during the Winter Meetings. Most of them had to do with teams trying to acquire Starling Marte or Adam Frazier. However, one of the rumors actually had to do with the team actually acquiring a veteran. It was reported that the Bucs set up a meeting with free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos.
Chirinos played last season with the Houston Astros and played for the Texas Rangers for six years before the 2019 campaign. He is an above-average catcher with skills on both sides of the ball. He is a very good pitch framer, has a strong arm and is adequate at blocking. Meanwhile, he brings plus right-handed power, hitting 17 home runs last year in 114 games. He did only hit an uninspiring .238, but he backed it up with an impressive .347 on-base percentage.
Chirinos would be a solid addition to a club that could use catching help and a veteran to help Jacob Stallings and the young pitching staff continue to grow. Apparently, Chirinos will be making a decision soon on where he will play next year. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, who has broken a couple of stories this offseason, tweeted this information:
It is hard to define what “close” means, but hopefully the Bucs are in the running for the free-agent catcher. As of now, the team has Jacob Stallings and Luke Maile, after Elias Diaz was moved off the 40-man roster earlier this winter. With Maile having a questionable bat and an option to the minors left, it seems logical that the Bucs could add another catcher.
Furthermore, with the rosters expanding to 26 spots, teams could potentially carry three catchers instead of just two. If the Bucs can add Chirinos and use Maile as a late-game defensive replacement, the Bucs could be in a good spot. Hopefully, Chirinos’ decision does come sooner than later.