Cleveland Guardians sign catcher Mike Zunino to one-year deal

Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels
Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians seemingly passed on trading for Sean Murphy, and Christian Vazquez is signing with the Twins, so the team has moved on to a stopgap catching solution in Mike Zunino, who has been signed to a one-year deal worth $6 million.

Zunino, 31, is a bit of a reclamation project for the Guardians. It's clear the team likes him for his power, evidenced by the 33 home runs he hit with Tampa Bay in 2021 in just 375 plate appearances. That season also marked the first and only All-Star appearance for Zunino in his now-ten-year career.

But in 2022, Zunino hit a paltry .148/.195/.304 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 115 at-bats, though it's hard to make much of those stats when he had to undergo season-ending surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome.

Even though he has a career 88 OPS+, Zunino has put together some impressive offensive seasons, finishing with an OPS+ of 113 or better three times. And he's hit 20 or more home runs four times, with two seasons of 20 home runs and 20 doubles. When he gets the at-bats, Zunino can be a very productive hitter. And while the batting average leaves plenty to be desired, the Guardians will certainly take the pop in Zunino's bat while giving top catching prospect Bo Naylor time to develop, likely at the major-league level.