Rays News

Reaction to Tampa Bay Rays trade for Zunino

By Austin Reimann
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 27: Mike Zunino #3 of the Seattle Mariners hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 27, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 27: Mike Zunino #3 of the Seattle Mariners hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 27, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JUNE 10: Catcher Mike Zunino #3 of the Seattle Mariners gets the out at home plate on Johnny Field #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays to end the bottom of the ninth inning during a game on June 10, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JUNE 10: Catcher Mike Zunino #3 of the Seattle Mariners gets the out at home plate on Johnny Field #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays to end the bottom of the ninth inning during a game on June 10, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

Final Thoughts:

The Rays entered the offseason looking to add a right-handed hitting catcher with pop and they accomplished just that when they acquired Mike Zunino. The Florida native has a great defensive reputation and just needs to find some consistency at the plate.

The Rays also entered the offseason looking to alleviate the log jam in the outfield that consisted of capable fielders, three of which batted from the left side. The Rays decided to stick with Kevin Kiermaier in center, hoping that he can put together a strong injury free 2019.

They also decided to give Austin Meadows the full-time job he deserves whether it be in right or left field. The highly touted prospect who came over from the Pirates in the Chris Archer trade, will now get a chance to play everyday.

With the starting outfield shaping up to be Pham, Kiermaier, and Meadows, Guillermo Heredia is likely the 4th outfielder, giving Kevin Cash a right-handed option off the bench. I don’t expect Heredia to be in Tampa too long, with Joe McCarthy ready in AAA.

Trading for Zunino was also the cheaper option for the Rays behind the plate and they can now reallocate the money saved towards a starting pitcher and impact bat. I like the overall lack of high level prospects the Rays gave up in this deal as they remain assets for future trade talks.

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All in all, the Rays killed more than two birds with one stone with this 5 player swap. They saved money at the catching position, freed up space in the outfield for Meadows, and got a catcher with pop and two years of control.

In my opinion, this was a win-win for Tampa and Seattle.

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