Rays solidify catching by re-signing Zunino

The Tampa Bay Rays took a big step to solidify their catching situation by re-signing catcher Mike Zunino to a two-year contract.

Zunino signed a one year deal plus an option year for 3 million dollars. Zunino will take home 2 million dollars in 2021.

The option year is worth $4-$7 million. The number of games played will determine the exact amount.

This will be Zunino’s third year in Tampa, and the Rays are happy to have him back. Zunino did a great job handling the Rays pitching staff, and is known for his defense.

Zunino has been a disappointment offensively. In 118 games, Zunino hit .161 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI’s. Zunino hit .170 in the post-season with four homers and eight RBI’s.

The Rays will add another catcher to the roster as 23-year-old Ronaldo Hernandez has never caught above the Class A level.

Hernandez will be in spring training but will probably start the season at AA.

General Manager Erik Neander is happy to have Zunino back with the team. “Zunino has been instrumental to our team’s success over the last two years, most notably the work he’s done behind the plate and with our pitchers. We’re excited to have him back.”

Michael Perez, who platooned with Zunino last year, signed with the Pirates, and Kevan Smith, is a free agent. The Rays are continuing to talk with Smith about bringing him back.

The Rays also announced signing catcher Joe Odom to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Odom made his MLB debut with the Seattle Mariners this past season and hit.128 in 18 games.

The Rays also signed pitchers Andrew Kittredge and David Hess. Hess comes from the Baltimore Orioles, where he compiled a 4-20 the last three seasons with a 5.86 ERA.

—The Boston Red Sox signed outfielder Hunter Renfroe to a one-year contract. Renfroe will earn 3.1 million dollars in salary and 600,000 in incentives. This is close to the same amount he would have made had he played with the Rays in 2021.

Renfroe hit .156 with eight homers and 22 runs batted in during the 2020 season.

—Pitcher Brent Honeywell underwent his fourth surgery this week to clear up some discomfort in his elbow. Honeywell is expected to be ready for the start of spring training and could challenge for a spot in the rotation next season.

-The Rays had two players named to the All-MLB First Team. Pitcher Nick Anderson and second basemen Brandon Lowe.

Anderson and Lowe were two of the best players on the Rays this past season. Anderson went 2-1 with a 0.55 ERA, had six saves with 26 strikeouts.

Lowe hit .269 with 14 homers and drove in 37 runs playing in 58 games.

Neither Anderson nor Lowe had the memorable post-season they wanted to, but both were outstanding during the regular season and contributed to the Rays getting to the post-season.

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