This is simply not the Rays way. The only way we afforded d’Arnaud was because the Mets covered the majority of his salary. If the Rays decide against tendering Zunino a contract, they could potentially re-sign him at a lower cost. They may also do what the Rays do and look for a better deal.
Alex Avila is a very nice low-cost option, high quality option. D’Arnaud and Perez would make a formidable duo, although d’Arnaud might be a little to rich for the Rays blood this season. There might be trade opportunities, considering the Rays have the top farm system in the league. James McCann is on the final year of his deal with the White Sox and with the addition of Yasmani Grandal, McCann is being relegated to an AL-style utility role, projected to bounce around between First, Catcher, and DH.
James McCann was a first time All-Star last season for the Sox. He posted a .273/.328/.460 batting line with 18 HR, 60 RBI, 62 R, and a WAR of 3.8. He accounted for five defensive runs saved in Chicago.
Most Likely Option
Michael Perez has shown enough promise for the Rays to give him the opportunity. They were ready to do so last season before the injury bug bit. Perez showed he’s a capable bat in the minors last season with a .245/.338/.495 batting line. Perez had 13 HRs and 42 RBI in only 184 ABs in AAA-Durham last season. Knowing the Rays, this seems like the most cost-efficient route. The Rays have proved their brilliance by taking chances on unproven players. Perez has the talent and he will only cost a little over a half-million dollars.
What do you think? Will the Rays make a splash in free agency or via trade for a catcher? Will they stick with the in-house options? Let us know in the comments!