There are few rosters that are as complete as the Houston Astros. They have a loaded pitching staff and a lineup that is loaded from top to bottom. One can quibble over certain guys on the roster as to whether upgrades exist out there there in the world, but in the reality where money trees don’t actually exist....what the Astros have built over the last couple of years is very impressive.
One area that the Astros did find themselves in need of some help, though, is at catcher. With Brian McCann signing back with the Braves earlier this offseason and Evan Gattis not a backstop that any team would have much confidence in, Houston was in need of more production from behind the plate. The Astros were one of the teams that were potentially suitors for J.T. Realmuto, but the news today may take them out of the running.
#Astros making significant progress toward signing free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos, sources tell The Athletic. Deal is believed to be in place, pending physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2018
While Robinson Chirinos may not be the sexiest name on the free agent market among catchers, he is highly regarded around the league and he posted back to back 1.6+ fWAR seasons with the Rangers while splitting time behind the plate. In 2018, Chirinos put up a .222/.338/.419 line with 18 home runs. It is worth mentioning, however, that Chirinos posted -11 defensive runs saved behind the plate last season in 893 innings.
With Chirinos close to a deal with the Astros, the catching market is going to get more and more interesting with the fates of Yasmani Grandal and the aforementioned Realmuto being the biggest storylines as we head into the Winter Meetings.