Mets Rumors: Team has reached out to catchers Robinson Chirinos, Drew Butera
By Tim Boyle
Recent offseason New York Mets rumors have mentioned the team’s interest in free agent veteran catchers Robinson Chirinos and Drew Butera. Is either a fit in Flushing?
From the latest of the New York Mets rumors, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports the team has reached out to veteran catcher Robinson Chirinos. In what we can only believe is an attempt to corner the market on players with the first name Robinson, the Mets seem interested in upgrading over Tomas Nido for the 2020 season.
Chirinos isn’t going to replace Wilson Ramos. At 36 next season, he’s a veteran backup that if placed in a Mets’ uniform, would serve as a number two and possibly even a personal catcher.
Chirinos is coming off a year where he hit .238/.347/.443 for the Houston Astros in a career-high 437 trips to the plate. He clobbered 17 home runs, one shy of the 18 he belted a season prior with the Texas Rangers.
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In mid-November, seeing Chirinos’ name in Mets rumors is surely a little uninspiring. If there was going to be an addition behind the plate, I think many fans were hoping to see Yasmani Grandal or someone else who would be a clear upgrade over Ramos.
Instead, these early Mets rumors seem to suggest the team is going to start their upgrading backward.
I hate to assume Chirinos would be the backup. For the past two seasons, he served as the starter and was kind of successful. If the Mets truly are on such a tight budget like we often believe, signing Chirinos for less than what Ramos is making and then trading Wilson is always a possibility. It’s a somewhat foolish one, depending largely upon what they get back.
Far more underwhelming is the other catcher the Mets have reached out to. Just as old but showing it a lot more is Drew Butera. A lifetime .200 hitter and backup catcher, Butera is another player who, according to Davidoff, has gotten a text, email, or smoke signal sent his way from the Mets to let him know they’re interested. I’m not sure how they do it anymore.
Between these two choices, Chirinos does make a lot more sense for the Mets. He’s a good defender whose bat is far more productive than what Butera can offer.
It wouldn’t shock me to see these Mets rumors come true given the poor performance by Nido at the plate over the past two seasons. Nido was rushed to the major leagues out of a need in 2018. Allowing him some time to figure things out offensively for a year in Triple-A during the 2020 campaign could benefit him.
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One way or another, it seems the Mets will be the market for another catcher again in the near future. Ramos is signed through 2020 with a $10 million option for 2021. With the promise of what can Francisco Alvarez can offer them one day, they’ll have to make do with other pieces until he’s big-league ready.