Cincinnati Reds: Eugenio Suárez is an invaluable piece for the future

NAGOYA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 15: Infielder Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds Infielder throws after a grounder by Kazuma Okamoto #8 of Japan in the top of 1st inning during the game six between Japan and MLB All Stars at Nagoya Dome on November 15, 2018 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
NAGOYA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 15: Infielder Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds Infielder throws after a grounder by Kazuma Okamoto #8 of Japan in the top of 1st inning during the game six between Japan and MLB All Stars at Nagoya Dome on November 15, 2018 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds struck a long-term deal with Eugenio Suárez last offseason. That deal now seems to be a bargain, and Suárez is virtually invaluable.

About this time last year, the Cincinnati Reds and Eugenio Suárez came to an agreement on a 7-year/ $66M contract. Yesterday, the Colorado Rockies made Nolan Arenado one of the highest paid players in the history of Major League Baseball. Suárez’s deal appeared to be a bargain when he signed it, but it may now be the most team-friendly contract in all of baseball.

Eugenio Suárez will make $7 million this season and his annual salary will top out at $11 million in the 2024 season. The Reds also have an option worth $15 million in 2025 if they wish to exercise it. The AAV (average annual value) of Suárez’s contract is $9.4 million. The AAV for Arenado’s new deal is $32.5 million.

Nolan Arenado is the best third baseman in the National League, and arguably all of baseball, but there’s not a $21 million difference between Arenado and Suárez. Arenado’s WAR last season was 5.6, while Suárez’s was 4.2. The going rate for 1 win above replacement is approximately $8 million, so the Reds are making out like bandits in their deal with Eugenio Suárez.

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To be fair, Arenado’s career is littered with more accomplishments than Suárez. Arenado has six Gold Gloves, while Suárez has none. Arenado is a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Suárez was in the running last season. Arenado has been to four All-Star Games and Suárez went to his first last season.

Baseball’s reward system, however, is leaning more towards future production rather than past accomplishments. While Arenado is likely to maintain the level of excellence we’ve come to expect from him, Suárez seems to be just tapping into his potential. After all, Arenado is heading into his seventh full season in the big leagues, while Suárez will enter 2019 with his eyes on completing just his fourth season with over 100 games played.

Suárez’s talent, combined with his contract make him the most indispensable player on the Cincinnati Reds roster. Think about it. Arenado just signed a deal with an AAV of $32.5 million and Manny Machado, who’ll be playing third base for the San Diego Padres, just signed a contract with an AAV of $30 million.

This is not a slight against Arenado or Machado, nor is it a condemnation of Suárez’s representatives. It’s just the facts. Eugenio Suárez is virtually “un-tradable”. At 27-years-old, Suárez is entering the prime of his career.

Suárez put up career offensive numbers last season, and though his defense was not stellar, don’t forget that he’s still adjusting to third base after spending his younger days as a shortstop in the Detroit Tigers organization.

There were whispers earlier this offseason that the Padres were interested in trading for Suárez. Obviously San Diego has moved on, and it sounded as though the Reds had no interest in trading Suárez anyway.

Cincinnati knows that they have a budding superstar in Eugenio Suárez. With a loaded lineup in front of and behind him this season, Geno is likely to see even more opportunities to succeed at the dish. Last season, Suárez slashed .283/.366/.526 with career highs in home runs (34) and RBIs (104).

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Eugenio Suárez possesses all the tools and the personality to help lead the Cincinnati Reds franchise, not just this season, but into the future as well. Suárez is the most indispensable player on the Reds, and his contract only adds to that fact.