(via Texas Rangers PR) - The Texas Rangers announced today that the club has acquired catcher Robinson Chirinos (pronounced cher-REE-nos) from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. It is the first major league trade ever between the Rangers and Rays.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Chirinos, the club has designated left-handed pitcher Jeff Beliveau for assignment. Chirinos has been optioned to Round Rock (AAA).
Chirinos, 28, was designed for assignment on March 31 when the Rays set their Opening Day roster. He did not play in 2012 after the catcher suffered a concussion in spring training when a foul tip struck his mask. The Venezuela native played 6 games for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League and was 2-for-9 in 9 games with the Rays this spring. He split the 2011 campaign between Durham (AAA) and Tampa Bay, batting .218 (12-55) with one home run and 7 RBI in his only major league action to date.
"First and foremost, we feel like we have extremely good catching depth/insurance with Chris Gimenez," Rays Executive VP, Andrew Friedman, told the Tampa Bay Times. "And then getting into the fourth and fifth layer, sometimes you're not able to focus on that as much as you'd like to ideally.
"I don't think any team really has beyond three. It's one of those things that, would you like to have four or five? Sure, and we did have that. But in going through and assessing where we were and what might transpire over the course of the season, something has to give, and in this case it was our very deep depth on the catching front."
Chirinos spent the first 10 years of his professional career in the Cubs organization from 2001-10 before he was acquired by the Rays in a trade involving pitcher Matt Garza on January 8, 2011.
Beliveau (pronounced bell-eh-VOH) tossed 2.0 scoreless innings yesterday vs. Omaha in his only appearance of the season for Round Rock (AAA). The Rangers have 10 days to trade, release, or outright Beliveau to the minor leagues.