Eugenio Suarez: Steal of a deal
It appeared to be a nondescript deal at the time:
December 11, 2014: Reds trade Alfredo Simon to the Tigers in exchange for Eugenio Suarez and Jonathan Crawford.
But the blossoming career of Suarez since has been anything but nondescript. The 27-year old has become a cornerstone for this franchise and one of the
better players at his postion in MLB.
Suarez leads the Reds with 14 home runs and 33 RBI. He leads NL third baseman in homers and ranks second in MLB at the position.
He's on pace for 32 doubles, 45 homers, 91 runs, 107 RBI and an .884 OPS. He likely won't beat out Nolan Arenado(Rockies) for a Gold Glove, but that
shouldn't take away from the defender he's become after moving from shortstop.
And don't forget the contract. In a shrewd move last spring, the Reds locked Suarez up with a 7-year, $66M deal that includes an option for 2025.
The deal keeps Suarez in a Reds uniform through at least 2024 and his age 32 season. It also pays him no more than $11.2M in a season. The Reds hold
a $15M option for 20025. For perspective, the Rockies recently signed Arenado to a 7-year, $260M deal that pays him an average of $35M a year.
The Suarez deal is exactly the kind of deal a small market team has to be able to pull off. Smart scouting. Smart accounting. Smart timing.
The Reds maximized the value of Simon by dealing the 33-year old following his career year of 2014 (15-10 3.44 in 196 innings) that earned him
his first and only All-Star appearance. Simon's ERA bloated to 5.05 the following season, his first and only season with the Tigers, and he was out of the game
after the 2016 season.
Credit the Reds scouting and front office for setting their trade sights on Suarez, a then 22-year old that had played 454 career minor league games
(.273-.358-.428-.786) and 85 games with the Tigers in 2014. Some within the Tigers organization foresaw what was ahead for Suarez.
But it's unlikely anyone, including the Reds, saw this version of Suarez developing.
The good news is he's not done yet.