The Tampa Bay Rays activated Mike Zunino from the injured list, while optioning Sean Gilmartin to the alternate training site, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com (via Twitter).
The 29-year-old Zunino competes for the starting catcher job when healthy, but he’s been out for almost a month now with a left oblique strain. Over the first 23 games, Zunino slashed .133/.235/.383, a more extreme but not uncharacteristic iteration of his career line: .200/.270/.394. He’s long been considered a boom-or-bust option at the plate, but it’s now his third consecutive season with a wRC+ south of 100 (69 wRC+ in 2020). What’s worse, he hasn’t posted particularly strong defensive numbers of late. He finished last season ranked 35th in Statcast’s catcher framing metrics and tied for 14th in poptime. The Rays hold a $4.5MM option on Zunino for 2021.
Zunino will compete with Michael Perez and Kevan Smith for time behind the plate. Perez has received the most time behind the plate this season, but like Zunino, he has struggled at the plate. The 28-year-old has a 39 wRC+ and a triple slash of .177/.241/.252. Smith has been the best offensive option of the bunch, slashing .273/.429/.500 while generating 0.3 fWAR. Still, the Rays seem to prefer Zunino or Perez behind the plate.
Gilmartin has bounced around the league since an exceptional 50-game stretch to start his career with the Mets in 2015. He posted a 2.67 ERA/2.75 FIP that season with 3.00 K/BB, but in the five seasons since, he’s put up a 6.09 ERA/6.71 FIP across 54 2/3 innings for the Mets, Orioles, and Rays. After spending the past two seasons in Baltimore, Gilmartin, 30, joined the Rays this year but has made just 2 appearances on the season.
I remember back in 2017 some people thought he was gonna be a great power hitting catcher. Just didn’t work out
It really looked like he had turned a corner in 2017, but reverted to normal.
The month of Junino is still a tale we tell in Seattle. Granted, there aren’t many tales we can tell as is…
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Maybe the end of the line in MLB for Gilmartin? Pirates on line 2?
This guy was one of the better pitch framers in Seattle. Then he would have those spurts with the bat. He looked at times to be one of the best catchers in the league. Too bad he forgot how to hit in the MLB. He would be a perennial AS. I was wondering if it was Seattle’s fault he couldn’t hit but it hasn’t changed in TB. Too bad he is a great guy.