Rays close to acquiring catcher Mike Zunino from Mariners

Jose Verdugo
Noviembre 9, 2018

The Rays are sending outfielder Mallex Smith back to the Mariners - they got Smith from the Mariners in 2017 - for outfielder Guillermo Heredia and catcher Mike Zunino, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rays officials, who tend to wait for deals to be completed before discussing, would not comment.

Zunino, 27, has not been as consistent offensively, hitting.201 last season with 150 strikeouts, but also slugging 20 homers with 44 RBIs and a.669 OPS. They didn't have an obvious starter heading to the season behind the plate and Zunino is an excellent defensive catcher.

The Mariners then immediately sent him to the Rays along with Ryan Yarbrough and minor leaguer Carlos Vargas in exchange for Drew Smyly.

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Smith slashed.296/.367/.406 and stole 40 bases in 2018, good for second best in the American League. He played all three outfield positions and showed improvement in that part of his game as well. Heredia has roughly a similar amount of service time as Smith - he'll be eligible for arbitration after the 2019 season and will be under team control through the 2022 season.

The deal comes two days after rumours of a potential Mariners rebuild started to surface.

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