Atlanta Braves free agent profile: Robinson Chirinos

HOUSTON, TX – JULY 27: Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers hits a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 27, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves have a definite need still at catcher. Could the former Texas backstop be an ideal fit?

The Atlanta Braves are looking for a catcher to pair with Tyler Flowers for the 2019 season (and perhaps a year or two more). While many have the Braves looking hard in the trade market, they will also be heavily involved in free agency. One of the top catchers available this offseason will be Robinson Chirinos. How could he fit with the Atlanta Braves?

Long path to the bigs

Robinson Chirinos was originally signed as a middle infielder by the Chicago Cubs. He worked his way all the way up to AA as an infielder before the Cubs transitioned him to catcher for the first time in 2008 at age 24, which led to a late development curve for Chirinos.

In those first few seasons with the Cubs as an infielder, showing excellent athleticism with multiple seasons of double-digit stolen bases and also good walk rates along the way while keeping his strikeout rate low. The issue was that he simply wasn’t making enough contact to let those skills play up, so the Cubs chose the move to catcher to maximize on his athleticism.

After the transition to catcher, Chirinos saw his bat finally take off, seemingly haven found his defensive home. The Cubs had him at AAA in 2010, and he was part of the big trade between the Rays and Cubs that also involved Chris Archer that sent Matt Garza to Chicago.

Chirinos made his way to the majors in 2011 with the Rays for 20 games, but an injury kept him out all of 2012, and the Rangers bought Chirinos away from the Rays.

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