Entering this season — literally, right up until Monday and probably still, there has been talk about the Rangers acquiring a catcher.
That died down a lot after the Rangers traded for Bryan Holaday, but that was so he could be a backup catcher. There are plenty of people who still question whether Robinson Chirinos can be a starting backstop for the Rangers.
On Monday, he got off to a good start of proving his worth as the Rangers' No. 1 catcher.
Not only did Chirinos catch Cole Hamels after Hamels preferred Chris Gimenez all of last season, but he did it to the tune of a seven-inning outing in which Hamels allowed just two solo homers in the first two innings before buckling down and striking out eight batters.
But Chirinos also showed his defense and his arm. With two outs in the second inning and Mariners catcher Chris Ianetta on first base, Chirinos blocked a ball in the dirt that ricocheted in front of him with Ianetta bolting toward second base. Chirinos charged the ball, barehanded it and fired to second to nail Ianetta at second base to end the inning.
If you remember, Chirinos came out of nowhere in 2014 to throw out 40 percent of perspective base-stealers — well above league average — before sinking below the league average in 2015 with just 29 percent.
Could the Rangers still look to upgrade behind the plate at some point this season? Possibly, but Chirinos with Holaday mixed in appears to be good enough.