As the Cincinnati Reds search for the pieces to assemble their next winning team, it appears the organization has decided on where third baseman Eugenio Suarez fits into the puzzle.
Earlier on Friday, the Reds officially announced that they’ve dished out a seven-year, $66 million extension to Suarez with a club option included on the extension for the 2025 season valued at $15 million with a $2 buyout. If the Reds exercise that option, it’ll make the official extension a eight-year, $81 million one.
Here’s what Reds general manager Dick Williams said in a statement about the decision to extend Suarez:
“We are sending a signal to the fans that the work that we’ve put in the last couple years is starting to come together,” Williams said. “We’re starting to identify the building blocks that we want to build this team around. Geno is one of them. We’re ready to start winning again and we want Geno to be a part of it.”
With Suarez in Cincinnati for the long-term future, it appears the Reds future infield has been set, with Scooter Gennett at second base, and superstar Joey Votto as the first baseman. The Reds top prospect is Nick Senzel, a third baseman who has been working at shortstop during spring training, with the Reds indicating that their hope is he can be the shortstop of the future. Senzel’s bat will very likely show up at the Major League level at shortstop, but it’s unclear if the defense would at this point. If the defense doesn’t Senzel would likely go back to third base, and Suarez could end up playing shortstop, where he has 180 games of previous experience at the highest level.
We have the official year-by-year breakdown of Suarez’s extension right here:
2018: $2.25 million
2019: $9.25 million
2020: $10.5 million
2021: $11 million
2022: $11 million
2023: $11 million
2024: $11 million
2025: $15 million team option or $2 million buyout
Suarez’s extension is the second extension done by the Reds in recent memory, as Gold Glove Award winning catcher Tucker Barnhart received a six-year, $16 million deal in September, and finished the 2017 season batting .270/.347/.403 with 7 homers and 44 runs batted in. Barnhart’s 11 defensive runs saved tied for 13th in all of baseball, and ranked fourth among catchers with only Yasmani Grandal, Austin Hedges, and Martin Maldonado ahead, per FanGraphs.
Cincinnati acquired Suarez via trade with the Detroit Tigers in December 2014, and batted .260/.367/.461 with 26 homers and 82 runs batted in across 632 plate appearances in 2017. The 26 homers and 82 runs batted in were both career highs for the 26-year-old Suarez.
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