In the new world of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which contributed to a long freeze out of free agents, we’ve wondered if the landscape for young player extensions would change.
Specifically, as Paul DeJong suggested in signing his extension with the Cardinals, players might be afraid to wait around for free agency, only to find that the money isn’t there. And now we’ve got another data point that suggests young players may be more open now to accepting deals they wouldn’t have a year or two ago:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 16, 2018
Sources: Eugenio Suarez is guaranteed $66 million in extension over 7 years. Team option worth $15 million, $2 mill buyout. https://t.co/pQ5vFOwfzg
— Tommy Stokke (@StokkeTommy) March 16, 2018
To be sure, that’s a very large guarantee for an extension on a player who still had a few years of team control left. Good for Eugenio Suarez on that front, as he and his kids (and his kids’ kids (and so on)) will never have to worry about money. Get yours when you can get it.
That said … my word this is a long extension for a guy with one big year, but also with big upside.
Suarez, 26, was heading into his first year of arbitration, set to make $3.75 million. That means this deal buys out no fewer than FOUR of his free agent years, and a team option for a fifth year. You just don’t see extensions like this too often, because some of the “win-win” goes away when the deal is this long. If Suarez totally busts, the pain for a small market club is steep. And if Suarez gets even better, he’s locked in for so long that he’ll use up all his best, most marketable years while playing on this deal.
The deal could absolutely work out fine for both sides, but, given its length, it’s like each side was willing to maximize the pain of being wrong.
Suarez was solid for the Reds in 2015 and 2016, emerging as a regular, before blowing up as a four-win player in 2017. He hit .260/.367/.461 (117 wRC+), and rated as an excellent defender at third base. I see so much risk in this deal for both sides at this length.
Once nice inclusion for Suarez – and another surprising aspect of this kind of deal – is that he gets a no-trade clause.
I really think this deal is going to send some ripples through the league, and to me, on first glance, it’s further suggestive that there are some fundamental shifts going on in response to the CBA and this past offseason.
Will the Cubs be able to sign an extension (like this or otherwise) with a youngster this offseason? Because of the way the contracts are calculated for luxury tax purposes, it would have to have a pretty low AAV for the Cubs to squeeze it in, and/or a structure that somehow pushes off the luxury tax implications into next year.