Seattle Mariners: 4 Catchers Who Could Replace Mike Zunino

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 03: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres gestures to his dugout after hitting a two run single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning at Chase Field on September 3, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Padres won 6-2. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 03: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres gestures to his dugout after hitting a two run single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning at Chase Field on September 3, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Padres won 6-2. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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TRADE CANDIDATE: AUSTIN HEDGES

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 12: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres celebrates his two run home run with Eric Hosmer #30 against the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Safeco Field on September 12, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 12: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres celebrates his two run home run with Eric Hosmer #30 against the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Safeco Field on September 12, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

If you put Austin Hedges and Mike Zunino in a room together, they would perfectly recreate the infamous Spider-Man pointing meme. Zunino and Hedges have both been defensive studs while riding a wave of mediocrity at the plate, falling out of the good graces of both their fanbase and organization as a whole. Hedges, like Zunino, also provides an above-average amount of pop from the catcher position, homering 14 times in just 91 games last season.

With top prospect Francisco Mejía finally ready to kick his MLB career into high gear, the Padres may decided to move on from the 26-year-old Hedges, and Seattle may be first in line for his services. Hedges may not come incredibly cheap in a trade, however, as he’s still in the pre-arbitration period of his contract. That’s five years worth of club control remaining on his deal, and his league minimum salary is perfect for a Mariners team that appears to be in the process of lowering its overall payroll.

While I’m more of the belief that Seattle should target a veteran free agent on a one or two-year deal this offseason, the possibility of acquiring Hedges is enticing and surely makes a lot of sense. Hedges would likely match or exceed Zunino’s offensive output from 2018, and his defensive capabilities aren’t too far off from Zunino’s either. He’s also roughly $4 million cheaper and has three more years of club control than Zunino, making him better suited for Seattle’s books now and in the future.

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