The Mariners have sent catcher Mike Zunino down to Triple-A on optional assignment, the club announced (h/t Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, on Twitter). He’ll be replaced on the active roster by Tuffy Gosewisch, who’ll pair with veteran Carlos Ruiz behind the dish.
It’s no doubt disappointing for both player and team that he’s heading back down. There was plenty of renewed optimism for him after a resurgent late-2016 run in which he slashed .207/.318/.470 and hit a dozen home runs in 192 plate appearances.
Of course, at that point the former third-overall draft pick was already returning from a demotion. His power numbers and abilities behind the dish haven’t been enough to make up for a big problem with strikeouts. Through 80 plate appearances in 2017, the power has also dissipated. Zunino has gone down on strikes in 37.5% of his plate appearances and is hitting just .167/.250/.236 on the year.
The 33-year-old Gosewisch was acquired over the winter in order to provide depth. His track record in the majors — .199/.237/.286 through 416 plate appearances — doesn’t give much reason to think he’ll provide a major offensive boost. But perhaps he’ll be able to put up somewhat more palatable numbers while Zunino again looks to iron things out at Triple-A.