According to a report from Marc Topkin, the Tampa Bay Rays have signed catcher Mike Zunino to a one year deal with an option for 2022.
Last offseason, the Rays signed Mike Zunino to a one year, $4.5M deal with a $4.5M option for a second season in 2021. However, the Rays declined that option on October 30th after a season of lacking revenues and where Zunino posted .147/.238/.360 with four home runs over 84 plate appearances during the abbreviated 60 game season.
Despite his poor offensive showing, Zunino is quite skilled behind the plate and adept on handling a pitching staff, both aspects of his game that shined bright on baseball’s biggest stage, the World Series.
Zunino is a former first round pick out of the University of Florida, who was selected third overall in the 2012 draft by the Seattle Mariners. He quickly made his big league debut during the 2013 season and truly showcased his abilities during the 2014 campaign in which he launched 22 homeruns (87 wRC+) and accrued 3.8 fWAR over 131 games played.
His best season came in 2017 while still as a member of the Mariners when he hit .251/.331/.509 with 25 homeruns and he accrued 4.6 fWAR. However, it’s been a downhill slope since that time. He would be traded to the Rays during the 2018-2019 offseason and hasn’t shown that level of offense since, although the power still pops from time to time.
With Mike Zunino reportedly signed, the Rays finally have a starting catcher on their 40-man roster, but will be needing another backstop. Hopefully a name like Tyler Flowers or Jason Castro can follow this announcement soon.
Update: Marc Topkin has the financials: