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Tampa Bay Rays: 3 reasons Zunino was a great signing

By Seth Carter
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 03: Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays takes a swing in the seventh inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 3, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 03: Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays takes a swing in the seventh inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 3, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JUNE 05: Oliver Drake #47 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates a 4-0 win over the Detroit Tigers with Mike Zunino #10 at Comerica Park on June 05, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JUNE 05: Oliver Drake #47 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates a 4-0 win over the Detroit Tigers with Mike Zunino #10 at Comerica Park on June 05, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays have locked their prized-defensive catcher in for at least one more season. Is his defensive prowess worth the $4.5 million he’s set to receive?

The Rays signed Mike Zunino to a one-year $4.5 million deal yesterday, and included a team option for 2021. Some fans seems to be concerned about this lack of production at the plate but the Rays do not seem to have the same concerns.

General Manager, Erick Neander has enough confidence in what Zunino brings to the table to make him the fifth-highest paid player on the Rays, behind Charlie Morton, Kevin Kiermaier, Tommy Pham, and Blake Snell.

The Rays’ plan prior to last season was to roll with a combination of Mike Zunino and Michael Perez. The injury bug didn’t just bite, it infested the Rays’ catching gear, forcing them to find Travis d’Arnaud on the Dodgers scrap heap.

Perez showed a promising bat in the minors and he’s a left-handed hitter. In AAA-Durham last season Perez hit .245/.338/.495 with 13 HRs and 42 RBI in only 184 ABs. If his offensive production is able to reach anywhere near those levels, the combination of Zunino/Perez for just over $5 million is an absolute steal and something to get excited about.

In order for this to work, Zunino needs to hold up his end of this bargain. Like the Rays front office, I believe he will. Here are the top-three reasons the Zunino signing was a great move for the Tampa Bay Rays.

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