ARLINGTON - Robinson Chirinos was traded to the Rangers on Monday for a player to be named later or cash considerations, giving the appearance that the Rays' catching corps might be growing a little thin.
Chirinos joined fellow catcher Stephen Vogt in leaving the Rays. Vogt was traded to Oakland on Friday. Both were designated for assignment on March 31, when the Rays set their Opening Day roster.
"There's probably a thinning of the ranks, but I don't think we've been impacted too badly," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The Rays were getting the vibe that other clubs would have claimed both Vogt and Chirinos had they not traded them. So they were fortunate to be able to trade both and get something in return.
Triple-A Durham catcher Chris Gimenez remains the next in line to be recalled if something were to happen to either of the catching tandem of Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton.
"All I would say is: I don't think any team has beyond three [catchers]," said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations. "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."
Looking below Durham to Double-A Montgomery, the Biscuits have Mark Thomas, whom is seen as an up-and-comer in the organization.
"I would have to think so, yes," said Jamie Nelson, Rays assistant hitting coach and catching coach. "Absolutely, I mean, tools-wise he's second to none, he's got everything you want. It's just a matter of being consistent at the plate and having good at-bats from pitch to pitch."
Friedman noted that the most important thing for the team is to have "the next in line" -- which they have in Gimenez.
"Beyond that, we feel like Mark Thomas has a lot of ability and it's all about putting it all together," Friedman said. "He's going to get a chance to play every day in Montgomery. Gimenez is going to get a chance to play every day in Durham. And we'll see how things transpire from there."
Thomas might already have the ability to catch at the Triple-A level, but he's not there yet for a good reason.
"The fact is with Gimenez catching virtually every day in Durham, there weren't going to be many days behind the plate for someone else," Friedman said. "And so it clears that up a little bit in terms of playing times."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.