Cody Chalifoux

Two Stars Sign Extensions

Chris Sale and Paul Goldschmidt recently signed major contract extensions as spring training is winding down. Sale is being paid $150 million over the next five years, and Goldschmidt will be awarded $130 million over the next five years as well.

Goldschmidt signed earlier on in the week by the St. Louis Cardinals, and will be getting $26 million dollars until his age 37 season. Goldschmidt has been easily one of the top first baseman in the entire league since he was called up in 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Goldy has power, hits for average, is a gold glove caliber fielder, and has surprising speed for a first baseman, which separates him from the rest of the sluggers playing that position. He found himself in St. Louis thanks to a trade on December 6th, which sent Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, and Andrew Young to the desert for the six time All-Star. When his extension kicks in, he will become the third highest first baseman by salary per year, right above Joey Votto and right behind Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols who both signed mega deals a few years back.

Chris Sale has been arguably the most dominant lefty not named Clayton Kershaw in to 2010’s. The 2018 World Series champion will be rewarded a 5 year $150 million extension for his historic numbers and dominance. He was part of a blockbuster trade that had him going from the Chicago White Sox to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for top prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and others. If it weren’t for injuries that held him out for most of August and September, he most likely would have taken home his first A.L. Cy Young award. Those injuries have been a little bit of a concern since being in Boston, as his timed missed went form what was thought to be load management to an actual concern that dropped his fastball velocity from 97-98 MPH to a lowly 88-91 MPH in the playoffs.


Mike Trout Gets Record Deal

Earlier this morning, Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels came to terms on a record 12 year, $430 million deal. Baseball has officially gotten its first $400 million player.

This basically seals Trout’s fate as an Angel for life. Mike Trout has been in an Angels uniform since 2011, where he broke out with one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history. He has career numbers of .307/.416/.573 to go along with a .990 OPS and 240 HR, 648 RBI, 793 runs, an 189 stolen bases. He has been a top four MVP candidate in every one of his seven full seasons, as well as an All-Star in all of then and a Silver Slugger winner in all but one. Trout has been the most complete player we have seen since Ken Griffey Jr. and a younger A-Rod. His pay day was inevitable, but even this deal comes as a bit of a surprise. He got a whole $100 million more than Bryce Harper did, who set the record for largest contract when he signed late into free agency to the Phillies for $330 million over 13 years. What does this mean for the free agency market going forward? Who else is worth the elusive $400 million?

The first notable name that comes to mind is Mookie Betts. He, Trout, Francisco Lindor, and maybe Alex Bregman are the only true five tool players the game has. Mookie is fresh off a historic season where he won a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, batting title, MVP and a World Series for the Boston Red Sox. He was also awarded a record $25 million for arbitration this year. Betts has not kept his quest for a big contract a secret, as on top of that record setting arbitration deal, he won his arbitration the year prior at $10 million. Mookie might not get the $400 million number that Trout received, but he could be looking at more per year. Trout is going to be paid just a hair over $34 million per year for the next 12 years, beating Nolan Arenado’s previous record breaking extension of $32.5 million a year. I saw on twitter (@redsoxstats) a deal that would be 11 years for $365 million. That would give him a higher per year stat than Nolan, and would put him in the same free agency class as Trout. I believe that Mookie does get the $400 million, and most likely for only 11 years to give him a higher per year number.

Francisco Lindor is another player I can see getting a huge market setting deal. Manny Machado got $300 million dollars this offseason, which is the new standard for shortstops (even though he is playing third again for San Diego, the contract will be viewed as a shortstop deal). Xander Bogaerts is the next star shortstop to hit the open market, but he won’t crack the $300 million mark Machado set. But, he will hit the market as it might be hard for the Red Sox to pay him, Chris Sale, and Mookie Betts as well as saving money for Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi. That could cause a team to over pay for Bogey, raising the value of shortstops. Lindor is also in a stacked shortstop class that includes Corey Seager and Carlos Correa. That class will drive the position price way up as they are some of the brightest young stars, regardless of position. In my opinion, Lindor is the the best of the bunch. I could see him getting the 11 year $365 million that was mentioned for Mookie. Either way, all three of them are getting $350 million plus minimum barring injuries or career implosion.

Other notable players such as Alex Bregman, Aaron Judge, Paul Goldschmidt, and Javier Baez may be in line for a big pay day in the very near future. Each situation is different, and you have to take into account budget, age, production, position, which teams are interested, the farm systems of those teams, ect. Either way, $300 million dollar men are going to be a lot more common in the years to come. Yet, the $400 million dollar man might still just be a one man race… for now.

Eugenio Suarez is a Low-Key Tank

Third base has been an extremely important position in baseball’s storied history. The position employed some of the greatest defenders the sport has seen, and middle of the order bats. Players like Brooks Robinson, Ron Santo, Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt, and George Brett have carved out Hall-of-Fame careers playing the hot corner. Today, we see players such as Nolan Arenado, Justin Turner, Kris Bryant, Jose Ramirez, and Josh Donaldson man the left side of the infield and hold down the heart of the lineup. Hidden under all of those names is a one time All-Star who could be the X-factor to playoff baseball in Cincinnati.

Eugenio Suarez has been a low-key tank for the Cincinnati Reds. He has quietly put up a few good seasons for the Reds, but has just been overshadowed by Joey Votto and the fact that the Reds have been out of the race by mid-May the last few years. Suarez was originally signed by the Tigers and played a mix of third base and shortstop while getting limited action in 2014. A trade for Alfredo Simon sent him packing to Great American Ballpark, which has been his home since 2015. With Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier on the left side, it took a season ending injury to Cosart in June of 2015. He slashed .280/.315/.446 and smacked 13 homers and 48 RBI. in 2016, he transitioned to a full time gig to become the Reds’ starting third baseman after Todd Frazier was shipped to Chicago. That year, he slashed .248/.317/.411 and produced 21 HR and 70 RBI. The stick has always been the staple of his game, yet his glove needed a bit of work. He committed a MLB leading 23 errors that year.

2017 was his true breakout campaign. In 156 games, he raised his batting average from an ok .248 up 12 points to a more respectable .260. He set career highs in HR (26), RBI (82), BB (84), and also cut his errors down considerably from 23 to just nine. Eugenio started picking up steam as being considered one of the games brightest young stars in the game. 2018 was the year he finally got the recognition he deserved.

In July of 2018, Eugenio Suarez was announced as an All-Star for the National League. He finished that season with a slash line of .284/.366/.526 and an OPS of .892. He then reset his career highs in home runs and RBI, as well as hit in 13 less games than the year prior. For reference, here are his offensive numbers next to Nolan Arenado in 2018.

NameAVGOBPSLGOPSHRRBI2BHRG
Suarez.284.366.526.892341042214979143
Arenado.297.374.561.9353811038175104156

Arenado’s numbers are still another level above, but when you take into consideration the fact that Arenado is a top five player in all of the league (number three in my humble opinion), and the fact that Nolan has 13 games on Eugenio, it starts putting Suarez in a better light,.

With some key off season acquisitions such as Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, as well as another year of development form their younger players, the Reds are in the running for what seems like a more wide open NL Central than we have seen in years past. Could Suarez be that X-factor that put the Reds back into the postseason? Or will he have another monster year buried by the lack of attention his team gets?