Cincinnati Reds: Should José Peraza be offered an extension?

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 12: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on September 12, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 12: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on September 12, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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After a solid 2018 season, José Peraza appears primed for a breakout year in 2019. Should the Cincinnati Reds go ahead and extend Peraza long-term?

José Peraza was the most improved player on the Cincinnati Reds roster last season and the shortstop appears primed for a big year in 2019. Should the Reds take a similar approach with Peraza that they did Eugenio Suárez last offseason and lock up their young up-and-comer before he becomes an All-Star?

On the surface, the idea of extending Peraza beyond 2019 seems a bit extreme. After all, the Reds maintain team-control until Peraza becomes a free agent following the 2022 season. The Reds also have much bigger priorities this offseason, namely starting pitching. So why spend unnecessarily on a player who’s not going anywhere for the foreseeable future?

Reds fans need to look no further than their All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suárez. Cincinnati signed Geno to a team-friendly 7 year/ $66-million contract last offseason. One year later, that contract extension is nothing short of a bargain.

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Eugenio Suárez had a career-year in 2018, hitting .283 with a .366 on-base percentage. Suárez led the Reds in home runs (34), RBIs (104), slugging percentage (.526), OPS (.892), and OPS+ (135). All of those numbers, with the exception of his OBP, are huge increases from 2017. Could Peraza enjoy a similar season in 2019?

Peraza had a career-year himself in 2018. Granted his sample size is smaller and he doesn’t possess the same power as Suárez, but the Reds’ shortstop sure turned some heads last season. Peraza led the Reds in hits (182) and almost broke Barry Larkin’s record for hits by a shortstop in a single season. Peraza also led the entire National League in singles.

José Peraza is projected to see an increase in his salary according to MLBTradeRumors.com. Peraza is thought to get a contract in the neighborhood of $3.6 million should he and the Cincinnati Reds go through the arbitration process. So why not work out a contract extension this offseason and use Suárez’s deal as a model?

Suárez will make $7 million this coming season and see an increase in his base salary through 2022, at which point he’ll be making $11 million per year from 2022-2024. He then has a $15-million option for the 2025 season. Peraza could seek a similar deal, and the Reds could arguably even look at a lower base salary.

What if Cincinnati offered Peraza a 6-year/ $50-million contract? A contract like that averages about $8.3 million per season. If Peraza continues to develop at the plate as he has over the last two seasons, a deal like that could be a bargain. It would offer the Reds, who hate to overspend, a workable deal with a solid player who has a ton of upside.

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There are so many higher priorities this offseason for the Cincinnati Reds than negotiating a long-term deal with a player that’s under team control for a few more seasons. But, if the Reds feel like they’ve seen enough from Peraza to keep him in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future, why hesitate. There’s no one coming up through the pipeline at the shortstop position that’s going to unseat Peraza anytime soon.