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Report: Mariners agree to trade Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia to Rays for Mallex Smith

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Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners are working to complete a trade that would send catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Guillermo Heredia to the Rays in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and “perhaps a minor league prospect.” Some work still needs to be done to bring the deal to the finish line, but Divish says the two sides have been discussing the deal since last week. [Update: The trade is agreed upon, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.]

Smith, 25, hit .296/.367/.406 with a league-high 10 triples along with 40 RBI, 65 runs scored, and 40 stolen bases in 544 plate appearances with the Rays this past season. Smith was briefly with the Mariners in January 2017. The Braves traded him along with Shae Simmons to the Mariners for Luiz Gohara and minor leaguer Thomas Burrows. The Mariners then immediately sent him to the Rays along with Ryan Yarbrough and minor leaguer Carlos Vargas in exchange for Drew Smyly.

Zunino, 27, was just named one of the Defensive Players of the Year. He had a really good offensive year in 2017 but regressed this past season, finishing with a .201/.259/.410 triple-slash line along with 20 homers and 44 RBI in 405 PA.

Heredia, 27, spent most of his time in center field for the Mariners this year once Dee Gordon moved back to second base following Robinson Canó’s suspension. He hit .236/.318/.342 in 337 PA.

Smith is not yet eligible for arbitration, so he will be cheap in 2019 and under team control through 2022. Zunino is entering his second of three years of arbitration eligibility after earning $2.975 this past season. Heredia has roughly a similar amount of service time as Smith — he’ll be eligible for arbitration after the 2019 season and will be under team control through the 2022 season.

Mike Trout voted 2019 American League Most Valuable Player

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The Baseball Writers Association of America voted Angels outfielder Mike Trout the Most Valuable Player in the American League for the 2019 season. He received 17 of 30 first-place votes, earning the third AL MVP Award of his career.

Trout, 28, missed the final three weeks of the season due to a foot injury, but his numbers were still strong enough to overcome the competition. He led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and a 185 adjusted OPS, and led the AL with a .645 slugging percentage and 1.083 OPS. He also slugged 45 home runs, knocked in 104 runs, scored 110 runs, and stole 11 bases in 600 plate appearances. FanGraphs also gave him an edge over the competition in WAR at 8.6.

Trout, who also won the award in 2014 and ’16, is the third Angel to snag the hardware, joining Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (2004). He is the [NUMBER] player to win three MVP awards, joining Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Álex Rodríguez, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols, and Barry Bonds. Bonds is the only player to have won the award more than three times, winning a whopping seven MVP awards.

Alex Bregman finished in a close second place followed by Marcus  Semien, DJ LeMahieu, and Xander Bogaerts. Also receiving votes were Matt Chapman, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Nelson Cruz, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Rafael Devers, Jorge Polanco, Austin Meadows, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Gleyber Torres, Eddie Rosario, José Abreu, Max Kepler, J.D. Martinez, Yoán Moncada, Charlie Morton, Matt Olson, and Jorge Soler.