Throughout their entire history, the Colorado Rockies franchise has failed to have a good catcher and it’s about time that change.
There are no more games for the 2010’s decade and with it, it is official that Tony Wolters led the Rockies catchers for total WAR in the decade…with a fWAR of 2.4.
For Rockies catchers all-time, the best season by fWAR is Miguel Olivo‘s 2010 season and in 2019, after the Rockies let him go via waivers, Tom Murphy posted a 3.2 fWAR season for the Seattle Mariners.
Even though the Rockies don’t have much to spend this offseason via free agency, the one area that they have expressed interest in improving upon is the catching position.
While the Rockies have done virtually nothing this offseason, the catchers that were on the free agent market like Yasmani Grandal, Travis d’Arnaud, Stephen Vogt, Yan Gomes, Martin Maldonado and Alex Avila have been picked up by other teams.
There’s one that stands head and shoulders above the others in productivity and he is Robinson Chirinos.
Chirinos, 35, would provide the Rockies with a veteran catcher who, over the past six seasons, has fWAR of 6.9, including a 2.3 fWAR (3.8 bWAR) season in 2019 with Houston. With Houston re-signing Maldonado and signing former Rockies catcher Dustin Garneau, the Astros may be set at catcher.
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While he is about average in pitch framing (he’s in the 44th percentile compared to the 15th percentile with Wolters) and DRS, Chirinos is best offensively. He has posted an OPS+ north of 95 in each full season he has had in the majors. In the last three seasons, his OPS+ is 107 and it was 105 in 2019. By comparison, Wolters has a career OPS+ of 63.
He made $7.75 million last year with Houston and MLB Trade Rumors projected at the beginning offseason that he would get a 2-year deal for $10 million.
However, if you check out their predictions compared to the actual deals that have happened, many of them are longer and/or more lucrative than expected.
Even if Chirinos signs for more, the Rockies should make a serious push for Chirinos as he would significantly improve their offense at catcher and, perhaps, even help the pitching staff as well.
Now, we have to see if the Rockies are willing to spend the money.