Rays trade for Mike Zunino
A division rival has made a trade, and it almost certainly made them better. The Rays have the tough luck of playing in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees, which is how you win 90 games like Tampa Bay did this past year and still finish 18 games out of first place, and ten games out of second place. They needed reinforcements this year, and they’ve made their first move to that end. Wednesday night, they reportedly struck a deal with the suddenly-retooling Mariners to acquire catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia and prospect Michael Plassmeyer in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and prospect Jake Fraley. This is, largely, a classic move to address a weakness by dealing from depth. With Kevin Kiermaier presumably healthy again in 2019, Tommy Pham around for a full year and Austin Meadows ready for the show, the Rays had the outfield covered. They did not, however, have a catcher. Now, they do. Zunino isn’t perfect, and he’s going to strike out a ton, but he provides real power to a lineup that could use it Heredia is also a nice depth piece in the outfield. I do like Smith as a player, and I think he could thrive in a big outfield like Seattle’s, but the Red Sox care more about the Rays and they made their roster better with this deal.
Defensive Players of the Year were awarded
Wednesday was a special day on the MLB calendar, as it was the day I remembered the league not only had Gold Gloves but also awarded Defensive Players of the Year at each position as well as an overall Player of the Year and a Team of the Year. The Red Sox had one winner. Here’s the full list.
Catcher: Mike Zunino, SEA (Now TB)
First Base: Freddie Freeman, ATL
Second Base: D.J. LeMahieu, COL (Now a FA)
Third Base: Matt Chapman, OAK
Shortstop: Andrelton Simmons, LAA
Left Field: Alex Gordon, KC
Center Field: Kevin Kiermaier, TB
Right Field: Mookie Betts, BOS
Pitcher: Zack Greinke, ARZ
Player of the Year: Matt Chapman, Oakland
Team of the Year: Arizona Diamondbacks
I...don’t really have further comment on this. Do with this what you will!
Gary Sanchez to undergo shoulder surgery
The Yankees received some bad news when their season ended at the hands of the Red Sox when they found out Didi Gregorius was going to have to undergo Tommy John surgery over the offseason. It will, of course, cause him to miss some regular season time. Well, now they have another big injury. Catcher Gary Sanchez is going to need shoulder surgery, and it’s going to keep him out for at least three months. Now, the expectation at this point is that he’ll be ready to go for Opening Day, which is more than three months away. It’s not that simple, though. For one thing, setbacks are always possible. Additionally, for someone whose value is so entrenched in his ability with the bat, shoulder surgery is no small thing. This is a situation to monitor as spring training gets closer, because while Sanchez is coming off a disappointing year he’s much better than he was in 2018 and is a big part of Boston’s biggest rival.