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Rays sign Zunino, avoid arbitration

Photo by Wayne Masut | The Scrum Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays and catcher Mike Zunino have agreed to terms on a one-year $4.5 million contract, avoiding arbitration. The deal also includes a club option for the 2021 season as well incentives that can increase the deal to $5.25 million.

Zunino, 28, played in 90 games in 2019 – starting 78 of them. He slashed .165/.232/.312 with nine homers and 32 RBI. However, Zunino isn’t known for his skills in the box. It’s what he brings to the pitching staff and his defensive skills behind the plate.

In 2019, he threw out 34.1 pct. (14 of 41) of base runners, which ranked third in all of baseball. That mark ranked only behind Philadelphia’s J.T. Realmuto (43.0) and Cleveland’s Roberto Perez (37.0). Both of those catchers won their league’s Gold Glove award, respectively.

For his career, Zunino is a .202/.271/.395 hitter and was coming off of back-to-back 20 home run seasons with the Mariners before being traded to the Rays in November of 2018.

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