Eugenio Suarez, pegged the Cincinnati Reds starting third baseman heading into the upcoming season, signed a seven-year contract extension with a club option Thursday.
Suarez, 26, is signed through 2024 plus the option-year 2025. He will be 33 when the contract expires. Suarez will get $2.25 million in 2018, $7 million in 2019, $9.25 million in 2020, $10.5 million in 2021, and $11 million in each of the last three years. In the 2024 option year, Suarez would make $15 million with a $2 million buy out.
“We are sending a signal to the fans that work that we’ve put in the last couple years is starting to come together,” Reds General Manager Dick Williams said. “We’re starting to identify the building blocks that we want to build this team around. (Squarez) is one of them. We’re ready to start winning again and we want (Suarez) to be a part of it.”
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Suarez was paid $595,000 last season. The Reds won his arbitration case in February which gave Suarez a raise to $3.75 million. He asked for $4.2 million.
“We were talking about this well before we went through the arbitration process,” Williams said. “We still went through the arbitration process. It was handled well on both sides. We came through the other side and still had the mutual interest and were able to put this together.
“Suarez has become a leader in our clubhouse. With the guys we’ve committed to Joey, Tucker and Geno, these are the guys we can count on to lead.”
The Reds have Joey Votto signed through 2023 with an option for 2024. Tucker Barnhart is signed through 2021 with an option for 2022. Homer Bailey is nearing the end of his six-year deal which runs out after 2019 with an option for 2020.
Suarez came to the Reds after Alfredo Simon was traded to Detroit in December 2014. He started the 2015 season in Louisville, but was called to the majors on June 11 to take over for the injured Zack Cozart. He hit .280 with 13 home runs.
“It is an honor for me to be a part of this wonderful team,” Suarez said. “I will do my best to win as many games as we can. I’m happy to be part of this team. It is my family. When I got traded, my first year here was 2015. When I saw my teammates, like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Tucker, (Devin) Mesoraco, they said ‘welcome to the house’. I never forgot that.”
Suarez moved to third base in 2016 and hit .248 with 21 home runs. Last season, he was regarded as one of baseball’s better fielding third basemen, leading the National League in fielding percentage with .976. Suarez hit .260 and established career highs with 26 home runs, 84 walks, 82 RBI, .367 on-base percentage, .461 slugging percentage, .828 OPS. He tied career-highs with 25 doubles and two triples.