Zunino’s $4.5 million may be one of the largest salaries on the team but…
- The Rays are Cheap Skates
- He can carry the load of one of the top pitching staffs in the league.
- Any other team would be thrilled to pay $4.5 million for one of the best defensive catchers in the league.
- They didn’t have to go to arbitration and explain how he might have had a similar batting average if he didn’t even take a baseball bat to the plate. He could have been forced to wear a blind fold and still would have put up similar numbers in 2019. So, they didn’t have to present that case.
Outside of the bubble the Rays operate in, $4.5 million is a good value for a veteran catcher with elite defensive skills. The fact that he has some thunder in his bat just adds to the value. When you combine his salary with Perez’s, you have a very affordable catching duo. One brings an elite glove and a ton of power, and the other brings the prospect of having an above average bat with power, as well. Their salaries combine to equal just over $5 million in 2020.
The Rays could still look elsewhere for a free agent or trade to bolster the position with experience. However, they were confident in this pair last season (with reason) and my guess is they are confident and comfortable with Perez and Zunino handling the talented staff in 2020.
If Zunino can straighten out some of the swing-and-miss issues and send 15-20 balls over the fence, he could prove to be the best value at catcher in all of baseball.
What do you think, was this move a horrible mistake? Will it set the Rays off on a path of destruction through the AL East in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!