Mariners trade Zunino, Heredia to Rays for Mallex Smith in 5-player deal


The Seattle Mariners announced they traded catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia, and minor-league pitcher Michael Plassmeyer to the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Mallex Smith and minor-league outfielder Jake Fraley.

News of the deal came shortly after Zunino earned the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award for catchers.

The 27-year-old backstop led all qualified catchers with 12 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs. He only managed to hit .201/.259/.410 in 2018 but did belt 20 home runs. Zunino has two years left on his contract before he's eligible for free agency.

Heredia, 27, appeared in 125 games for the Mariners in 2018, hitting .236/.318/.342. He offered Seattle defensive versatility by playing all three outfield positions and is under team control until the end of 2022.

The 25-year-old Smith is coming off his best season in the majors, slashing .296/.367/.406 with 10 triples and 40 steals.

This is the second time Smith has been traded to the Mariners. He was dealt to Seattle on Jan. 11, 2017, but was shipped to Tampa in a separate deal later that day.

Plassmeyer, 22, was drafted by the Mariners in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. He made 13 appearances, 12 starts, at Single-A Everett in 2018, posting a 2.25 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 24 innings.

The 23-year-old Fraley was a second-round pick by the Rays in 2016. He hit .347/.415/.547 with 41 RBIs and 11 steals for Charlotte of the Florida State League last season.

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