Rays acquire C Gregg Zaun from Orioles, say he'll play "a fair amount"
UPDATE, 5:07: Executive VP Andrew Friedman said Zaun will "play a fair amount" and the decisions will be based on matchups. "We feel this will help us down the stretch,'' Friedman said. "We feel like he'll provide us a nice little boost here in the last third of the season and be a good option.''
The Rays expect a benefit at and behind the plate. "Kind of a combination,'' Friedman said. "He has a lot of experience behind the plate and is very good at handling a staff and on the offensive side works really good at-bats and has had success against right-handed pitching so it will give Joe another option to consider.''
He also noted that Zaun has a lot of experience in the AL East, and has been "a Ray-killer the last couple years.''
Also, with the trade, Zaun's 2010 option becomes mutual rather than just a team option.
UPDATE, 4:15: No indication from the Rays yet on what they're planning here - whether to drop Michel Hernandez, or if they have something bigger in the works with Dioner Navarro, or to carry three catchers and dispense with Joe Dillon? Go a man short in the bullpen?
Both Dillon and Hernandez are out of options, so the Rays would have to risk losing either one on waivers before sending them to the minors. As for the player to be traded, it sounds like rules-wise as a PTBNL it can't be someone currently on the 25-man roster.
Zaun seems likely to play a couple days a week, depending on matchups, primarily against right-handed pitchers.
UPDATE, 4:05: Zaun, who lives in Palm Harbor, told MASNsports.com he was "totally shocked" and thrilled with the deal.
"It's definitely going to be a shot of tonic, that's for sure," he said. "I'm just excited that I'm going to be on a team that's playing meaningful games in August and September. And it makes it even better that I get to go live in my house."
Also, as he scrambled to leave Toronto and head to Seattle, he said: "I didn't expect to get traded. I figured once the deadline came and went, I was going to be with the Orioles, which was fine for me because I was enjoying my job, what we signed up to do, which was play a couple times a week and be there for Wiety (Matt Wieters) when he had questions, and hopefully try to show him the way a little bit. But I'm going to Tampa, and I have a home there, so it'll be easier for me to move right back into my house and play for a contender."
UPDATE, 3:48: It's official, and the word from Baltimore is the identity of the player to be named could be known in the next couple days, which sounds like it's possible it could be a player coming off the big-league roster.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are finalizing a deal to acquire C Gregg Zaun from the Orioles.
The veteran will be acquired for a player to be named later in a waiver wire trade. A move to make room for Zaun on the 25-man roster will be announced after tonight's game.
RHP John Meloan, the pitcher acquired for Winston Abreu (who the Rays just reacquired) was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man.
Zaun, 38, is a switch-hitter batting .244 with 4 HRs and 13 RBIs in limited duty for Baltimore. He is making $1.5-million this season, with either a $2-million option or a $500,000 buyout.
Zaun - who lives in Palm Harbor - has played 15 seasons in the majors, with the Orioles, Marlins, Rangers, Royals, Astros, Rockies, Blue Jays and Orioles again.
Not sure where this fits in, but also heard from Milwaukee JS beat writer Tom Haudricourt that the Rays have claimed LHP R.J. Swindle from the Brewers. He supposedly has an option left, so it makes sense that he'd go to Durham if that's the case.