The Rangers have rectified the Jeff Mathis Mistake. Robinson Chirinos is coming back to the Rangers.
Texas and Chirinos have agreed to a one-year contract, with a club option for 2021.
For those who care about the monetary part of it, Chirinos gets $5.75 million in 2020 and $6.5 million if they keep him for 2021. If not, they owe him a $1 million buy-out.
This means the Rangers don’t view Jose Trevino as the answer behind the plate. And they realize Jeff Mathis was a huge mistake.
Reinforcing their inability to evaluate talent, the Rangers chose Mathis over Chirinos for 2019. As The Dallas Morning News’s Evan Grant points out, “Mathis produced a -2.1 WAR over 244 plate appearances, last among 360 major leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances in 2019. Chirinos had a 2.3 WAR with Houston.”
Chrinos is a huge upgrade. How big? In the entire 48-year history of the Texas Rangers, which has featured a lot of really bad teams, nobody had a more awful season than Jeff Mathis. His OPS of .433 and his OPS+ of 11 are by far the worst offensive season for any Rangers hitter with over 200 at-bats. Or, over 100 at-bats for that matter. There is no sugar coating it. He was horrible.
Mathis’s defense was also near rock bottom among major league catchers in 2019 as well. And Rangers pitchers ranked number 24 out of 30 in ERA. Mathis wasn’t brought to Texas for his offense. Unfortunately, his defense and his intangibles were just as bad.
At least Rangers fans can bask in knowing they witnessed the worst Rangers hitter of all time. So there’s that.
But enough about Mathis. Welcome back Robinson Chirinos. Here’s hoping you are the first of a number of offensive upgrades the Rangers need to make.