Zunino agrees to $4.5 million, 1-year contract with Rays

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2019, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino slides to pick up a wild pitch from reliever Andrew Kittredge, allowing the Boston Red Sox's Rafael Devers to score from third base, during the fourth inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays have agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year contract with Zunino, avoiding arbitration. The deal was announced Monday, Nov. 25, 2019.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year contract with catcher Mike Zunino, avoiding arbitration.

The deal announced Monday, one day after free agent Travis d’Arnaud signed with the Atlanta Braves, includes a $4.5 million club option for 2021. The option price would increase by $250,000 each for 300, 400 and 500 plate appearances in 2020, making a second year potentially worth $5.25 million.

If the option is declined, Zunino would become eligible for free agency.

Zunino was acquired from Seattle in a five-player trade in November 2018 and started 78 of 90 games he played last season, when d’Arnaud finished the year as the team’s primary catcher. Zunino hit .165 with 10 doubles, nine home runs and 32 RBIs, while throwing out 34 percent of attempted base stealers.

The 28-year-old has a .202 average with 104 homers and 273 RBIs over seven big league seasons.

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