Rays reportedly nearing deal to acquire Mariners’ Mike Zunino

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not a secret that the Tampa Bay Rays have been in the market for a catcher since their 2018 season came to a conclusion.

Short on both young talent and proven veterans behind the plate, Tampa Bay is now reportedly nearing a deal with the Seattle Mariners to acquire 27-year-old catcher Mike Zunino.

“Multiple Major League Baseball sources said the Mariners are working on a possible deal with their favorite trade partner, the Tampa Bay Rays. Seattle would send Zunino and outfielder Guillermo Heredia to Tampa in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and perhaps a minor league prospect,” Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported Wednesday evening.

This could be the start of a fire sale for a Mariners team that boasts the longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball.

Zunino hit just .201 with 20 homers and 44 RBI this past season. Though, he’s also seen as a plus-level defensive catcher.

The other moving parts in this trade are interesting in that 27-year-old outfielder Guillermo Heredia should earn a spot on the Rays’ 25-man roster. Meanwhile, Mallex Smith hit a studly .296 with an AL-high 10 stolen bases last season. He’ll more than likely be a starter in Seattle.