Rays News

Rays’ Roster Prediction: Good-bye Zunino – who will be 2020 Catcher?

By Seth Carter
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim scores on a double hit by Albert Pujols #5 before Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays can get the throw in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim scores on a double hit by Albert Pujols #5 before Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays can get the throw in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 06: Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a two-run homer off Clay Buchholz #36 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on September 06, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 06: Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a two-run homer off Clay Buchholz #36 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on September 06, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Rays are a notoriously frugal team by necessity. They began their 2019 campaign with $52 million allocated to their 25-man roster. With budget constraints, the Rays will most likely non-tender some arbitration-eligible players in 2020.

Being a Rays fan is an intriguing experience. On one hand, they can win 96 games while competing in the same division as two of the biggest spenders in the league (Red Sox and Yankees). On the other hand, we routinely have to say good-bye to good players, at prices that other teams would consider a value.

The Rays have already designated Matt Duffy for assignment and eliminated the potential $2.9 million he was projected to receive in 2020. With the Rays already having $33.5 million locked up between Charlie Morton ($15MM), Kevin Kiermaier ($10MM), Blake Snell ($7MM), and Brandon Lowe ($1.5MM), the Rays don’t seem to have a whole lot of space left.

In this article we will examine how the Rays will address the departure of Travis d’Arnaud and Mike Zunino’s arbitration case. Before we dive into Zunino’s worthiness, let’s recap how arbitration is handled.

Once a salary is determined in arbitration, the team has the right to either tender or non-tender a contract. If a contract is tendered, the contract is still not guaranteed. The team reserves the right to cut the player prior to opening day. The contract is only fully guaranteed if he is on the 25-man roster on opening day.

light. Related Story. Also Read: 2020 Payroll Outlook

A tendered contract does not necessarily mean the player will make the opening day roster. With Zunino already registering as one of the highest-paid Rays last season, let’s take a look at whether or not GM, Erik Neander should keep him, or cut him loose.

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