July 26, 2021

How do you grade the Mike Zunino contract? (D Rays Bay)

Mike Zunino, the former Florida Gator acquired in an exchange built around Tallahassee native Mallex Smith just over a year ago, has signed a one-year contract with the Rays for $4.5 million. The contract includes an option for 2021 at the same cost, with up to $750,000 in incentives.

Zunino appeared in 90 games (78 starts) for the Rays in 2019, batting .165/.232/.312 with 10 doubles, nine home runs and 32 RBI. Over seven seasons in the majors, he is a career .202/.271/.395 (435-for-2,151) hitter with 104 home runs and 273 RBI, including a combined 45 home runs over the 2017-18 seasons with Seattle.

He also missed some time here and there, on the paternity list, April 19-21, for the birth of his first child, son Rhett Michael, and the 10-day IL, May 9-30, with a left quad strain.

Zunino threw out 34.1 pct. (14 of 41) of attempted base stealers, the third-best eraser rate in the majors behind J.T. Realmuto (43.0), who won the National League Gold Glove at catcher, and Cleveland’s Roberto Pérez (37.0), the American League Gold Glove winner.

According to FanGraphs, Zunino’s 10 Defensive Runs Saved ranked third among AL catchers, behind Pérez (29) and Toronto’s Danny…

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