In a somewhat surprising move, the latest MLB news coming out of New York is that the Yankees have signed Robinson Chirinos. The former starting catcher for the Houston Astros during the cheating scandal will now join the team whose fan base he criticized during the 2019 ALCS. This latest MLB news comes less than two days before the Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training.
Latest MLB News: A Controversial Signing
Robinson Chirinos was a member of the 2019 Astros team that was confirmed to be illegally stealing signs from opposing teams, including the Yankees in the ALCS. This was something that the Yankees organization was justifiably angry about. Now they have signed one of those batters who directly cheated against them to their own roster. In fact, there is even a photograph of Chirinos after an at-bat where there may or may not be some sort of signaling device. This has not at all been confirmed, but it is definitely suspicious.
To add another controversial layer to this latest MLB news, Chirinos notoriously criticized Yankees fans in an interview after game 4 of that 2019 ALCS. There will understandably be many Yankees fans who would not be thrilled to see him in pinstripes. Paired with the cheating scandal, there may be some Yankees players that are not necessarily in favor of this latest MLB news either.
Why the Yankees Signed Chirinos
This latest MLB news is not all negative and actually makes sense for the Yankees for a couple of different reasons. First, Chirinos is a veteran catcher who plays excellent defense. Considering the recent defensive struggles of Gary Sanchez, it definitely does not hurt to add some defensive depth at the position. He is not a particularly good hitter but he does not have to be for a team like the Yankees who are already loaded on offense.
The other big reason why the Yankees signed Chirinos is because of Gerrit Cole. As a battery, while they were both playing for Houston, Cole put up some of his best splits while Chirinos was behind the plate. He pitched to a stellar 1.57 ERA across 68.2 innings with a dominant 114 to 11 strikeout to walk ratio.
If Chirinos were to carve out a role with the Yankees in this upcoming season, maybe the most likely scenario would be as the personal catcher for Cole. For much of last season, including the postseason, Cole used Kyle Higashioka as his personal catcher. Maybe Cole asked Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office to bring in Chirinos to possibly fill this role because of the great success they had together in the past.
Chirinos Gets an Opportunity
Despite how the Yankees fans, and possibly even some Yankees players, feel about this latest MLB news, Robinson Chirinos will join the team just in time for spring training. His potential to add some defensive depth to the team at the catcher position gives him an opportunity to eventually make this final roster. An endorsement from Gerrit Cole is a very powerful thing, which may be the main reason why he was signed, and why it is even a possibility that Chirinos could be an opening day starter for the Yankees as the personal catcher to Cole when he takes the mound. Nevertheless, he will get an opportunity in spring training.
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