The San Diego Padres have reportedly dished out a multi-year contract to reliever Robert Suarez.
Suarez made his big league debut with the Padres this season, and after posting a 2.27 ERA in 45 games, he’s cashing in.
Suarez has agreed to a five-year pact worth $46 million with an opt-out clause after three seasons, per MLB Network. This comes after Suarez decided to opt out of his contract; he and Jurickson Profar took a $1 million buyout.
Suarez had a $5 million salary for the 2023 season lined up, but with this new deal, his average annual value is $9.2 million.
The Venezuelan was a good story from the 2022 season after fans recognized his baseball journey. Suarez made his MLB debut at 31 years old, which is much older than most who crack into the bigs.
But he wasn’t signed to an MLB team, not even the minor leagues, until December 2021, when the Padres came calling.
Suarez made his professional debut in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in 2016. This came after he played the 2015 season with the Saraperos de Saltillo of the Mexican League.
In the NPB, Suarez had a 3.19 ERA and 64 strikeouts over 53.2 innings of work. That performance earned him a spot on the Venezuelan national baseball team during the World Baseball Classic in 2017.
On March 12 of that year, he injured his right elbow during a game against Mexico and required Tommy John surgery.
Suarez returned to the mount in August 2018 in the NPB, where he spent the next three seasons honing his craft.
The Padres noticed his skills and signed him to a one-year deal this past season with the 2023 option.
In 47.2 innings in 2022, Suarez impressed San Diego with his 2.27 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 1.049 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched). The Padres are confident he can continue to provide quality innings out of the bullpen and be a key piece to help them get back to the postseason.
Suarez will also be looking for some revenge in October baseball. He was the pitcher who served up Bryce Harper’s opposite-field home run in NLCS Game 5 that sent the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series.