5:07pm: It’s a five-year, $46MM deal, Morosi reports. The deal allows Suarez to opt out after the 2025 campaign.
4:54pm: Morosi adds that Suarez’s deal is expected to be one of the strongest for a non-closing reliever in MLB history. Terms remain unclear, but Morosi indicates a five-year pact could be on the table.
4:50pm: The Padres are in agreement with reliever Robert Suarez on a multi-year contract, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com (Twitter link). The hard-throwing righty had been one of the top late-game arms in on the market. Suarez, a Don Nomura client, had opted out of a $5MM salary earlier in the week.
That was a formality, as Suarez was always likely to land a significant multi-year pact on the open market. Just as the time came for him to potentially speak with other teams, he and the Padres apparently pushed the deal across the finish line.
Suarez had never played in the majors before this year. The Venezuela native had spent five seasons at Japan’s highest level, working late innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. The Friars signed him to a two-year deal that allowed him to opt-out this winter, taking a shot on a live arm with a history of success in Japan. The gamble that Suarez’s stuff would play against big league hitters paid off in spades, as he emerged as one of manager Bob Melvin’s top late-inning weapons.
During his first appearance, Suarez walked two batters and hit a third. He failed to record an out and all three runners came around to score. It was a nightmarish debut, but the 31-year-old bounced back in a huge way. From the second day of the season onward, he pitched to a 1.70 ERA through 47 2/3 innings. Suarez punched out an elite 32.4% of batters faced along the way. His 10.1% walk percentage was still a bit higher than ideal, but he had no issue overpowering opponents while brandishing eye-popping stuff.
Suarez averaged 97-98 MPH on his fastball, backed up by an upper-80s changeup that served as his cutaway offering. He only picked up one save, but he held 11 leads and worked in high-leverage situation throughout the year. Aside from the Opening Day blip, the only negative in his regular season showing was a two-month absence due to right knee inflammation. His stuff was no worse for wear upon his return in mid-August, however, and the Friars clearly don’t harbor any concerns about his long-term health projection.
More to come.