Robinson Chirinos and the Texas Rangers were close Wednesday to a $6.5 million, one-year contract to reunite after the veteran catcher spent a season with the AL West rival Houston Astros.

A person familiar with the deal said the agreement was contingent on a successful physical.

Chirinos would have a $5.5 million salary this season. The deal includes a $6.5 million option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout.

After six seasons with the Rangers, Chirinos became a free agent when Texas declined a $4.5 million option after the 2019 season and he signed a $5.75 million deal with Houston. He hit .238 with 17 homers and 58 RBI in 114 games for the American League champions, while catching for AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and runner-up Gerrit Cole. He homered in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series, including a pair in Game 4.

The 35-year-old likely will become the Rangers’ starting catcher again. Jeff Mathis, the 36-year-old who hit only .158 last season, is going into the second year of his two-year deal, and Jose Trevino played 40 games as a rookie.

BREWERS: Manager Craig Counsell got a three-year extension through the 2023 season.


Hired to replace Ron Roenicke a month into the 2015 season, Counsell led the Brewers to consecutive postseason appearances for the second time in team history and first since 1981 and ’82.

Counsell already is the longest-tenured manager in the National League. Among all big league managers, he is fifth behind Oakland’s Bob Melvin, Cleveland’s Terry Francona, Houston’s AJ Hinch and Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash.

NATIONALS:  Asdrubal Cabrera and the Nationals finalized a one-year deal that includes a $2.5 million salary and the chance to earn performance bonuses.

The team also completed its $4 million, one-year contract with first baseman Eric Thames, which includes a mutual option for 2021.

The 34-year-old Cabrera was a big part of Washington’s surge to the World Series, hitting .323 with six homers and 40 RBI in just 38 games after signing with the Nationals in August. He played primarily second base, but also appeared at third base and first.

TIGERS: The Detroit Tigers acquired catcher Eric Haase from the Cleveland Indians for cash and designated right-hander Dario Agrazal for assignment.

2020 SCHEDULE: The World Series champion Washington Nationals will be at the New York Mets, and Detroit will play at Cleveland on March 26 at 1:10 p.m. in the first two games of the earliest Opening Day other than international games.

Washington’s game is part of a nationally televised tripleheader on ESPN and will be followed by San Francisco at the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4:10 p.m. and the Los Angeles Angels at AL champion Houston at 7:10 p.m.

All 30 teams could play on Opening Day for the first time since 1968. A full slate was scheduled in 2018 but two games were postponed because of bad weather. The 2020 regular season is to end Sept. 27, putting the World Series on track for Oct. 20-28.

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