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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.

Report: Nathan Eovaldi drawing interest from at least nine teams

Nathan Eovaldi
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Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.

Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.

A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.