ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays and catcher Mike Zunino agreed to a one-year contract that guarantees $3 million, a deal that includes a club option and could be worth $9 million over two seasons.
Zunino’s contract, announced Wednesday, includes a $2 million salary for 2021 and a $4 million option for 2022 with a $1 million buyout. The option price would escalate to $5 million if he appears in 80 games next season, $6 million if he appears in 90 games and $7 million if he appears in 100 games or is traded during 2021.
Zunino appeared in 28 games, including 25 starts, for Tampa Bay in 2020. The 29-year-old is considered a solid defender and has significant power but has struggled to make contact. He hit .147 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 2020.
During the Rays postseason run to the American League pennant, Zunino hit .170 but had four home runs and drove in eight. He became the first player in major league history to hit under .150 in the regular season and then hit multiple homers in the postseason, according to Stats LLC.
Tampa Bay declined Zunino’s $4.5 million option for 2021 following the Rays’ World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.