Former Florida Gators star Mike Zunino would probably classify this week as a good one. He might even go as far as to say it was a great one. In a matter of days, Zunino signed his first big league deal with the Seattle Mariners and followed that up by winning the Golden Spikes Award.
Zunino broke a record of sorts when the Mariners selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the MLB Draft. That made the catcher the highest draft Gator in school history. It also made it clear he would not return to Florida for his senior season. That is a sure thing now as he has signed his name on the line. Zunino will received a signing bonus of $4 million, which is a great deal of money, but is actually about $1.2 million lower than slotted for the third overall pick. $4 million, $5.2 millon; we’re pretty sure Zunino can make it work.
Later in the week, Zunino put an end to his college career by winning the Golden Spikes Award. The award goes to the nation’s top amateur baseball player and Zunino is only the second player ever to win it, the Dick Howser Trophy and the Johnny Bench Award in the same season.*
*Florida State’s Buster Posey was the other one. A few years back, One Eyed Willy and I had a debate over whether the Tampa Bay Rays should take Posey or Tim Beckham No. 1 overall in the 2008 MLB Draft. I fought for Beckham, who the Rays did end up drafting. I was wrong, further proving I know little about the ins and outs of baseball. But I do take some comfort in the fact that the Rays were wrong too.