Talking to reporters on Tuesday, Cash indicated that although they are not too concerned, the Rays catcher has not improved the way they had anticipated.
While Zunino had not gotten off to a great start for the club, his injury is still a major blow for a club battling various other IL stints. The Rays' catcher was slashing .148/.195/.304 before landing on the IL, and this lingering shoulder issue may have been playing a role in that slow start. Zunino was a first-time All-Star in 2021 and finished 20th in MVP voting, so Tampa Bay was counting on his production this season.
What made Zunino so special in 2021 was his ability to make noise both at the plate and behind the plate. His 33 HR and .860 OPS were both career highs, and Zunino managed to be one of the best pitch framers in all of baseball.
While the club does have a solid option in Francisco Mejia on the roster to fill in during Zunino's absence, it may not be long before the club may need to consider bringing in some external options to replace Zunino's production.