The Mariners announced this evening that they have agreed to terms with No. 3 overall pick Mike Zunino. He’ll be officially introduced during a news conference tomorrow.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Zunino will get a $4 million bonus, which is $1.2 million below the slot recommendation for the pick. No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa received a $4.8 million from the Astros while No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton got $6 million from the Twins. Both of those deals were also under the slot recommendation.
Zunino, a catcher out of the University of Florida, was recently named Baseball America’s college player of the year. The 21-year-old has plus-power from the right side of the plate and is highly-regarded for his leadership and defensive ability.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.