Cincinnati Reds look to Eugenio Suarez and Ryan Raburn to cover third base

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Reds look to Eugenio Suarez to own the third base position again in 2017.

Eugenio Suarez played 159 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2016.  It was his first year as a full-time starter and his first year as a third baseman.  Now the Reds are looking to for Suarez to do it again.

He was fourth on the team with 21 home runs.  He was also fifth in doubles and fourth in RBIs.  Suarez quickly developed into a top of the order hitter.

His defense was merely average in 2016 and his base running wasn’t much better.  Overall, however, he had a great season last year.  Suarez was only 24 years old and he played like he had been in the big leagues for years.

One of the issues is the make-up of the bench.  Depending on whether the Reds keep Blake Trahan around or not, there may not be a back-up shortstop on the roster.  With Suarez and starting second baseman Jose Peraza possessing experience at short, they may not need one.

The issue in order for that to work they need Suarez and Peraza to play short.  That only happens if they have another player to cover second and/or third.  Suarez shouldn’t be playing much short, but in order to play any the Reds need a quality back-up third baseman.

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The Cincinnati Reds plan on Ryan Raburn being the back-up third baseman all year long.

Raburn was signed from the Colorado Rockies just prior to the start of spring training.  He specializes in the corner infield and outfield positions.  He can even play second in a pinch.

Raburn is just what the doctor ordered for the Reds.  He allows Suarez to play short as well as Peraza.  Perhaps more importantly, he can give Suarez an actual off day.

Of course, the fly in this ointment may be the play of Trahan.  He is one of the Reds’ defense first shortstop prospects.

This spring he has also hit the cover off of the ball.

Batting .444 with an OBP of .500 over six games put Trahan on the map this spring.  The interesting thing is that Trahan is a shortstop only.  In order for the Reds to keep him around Zack Cozart would have to help out at second and third.

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Of course the Reds could keep Trahan, Raburn and outfielder Jesse Winker as the core of their bench.  It would be the three of them, a back-up catcher, and one other player.  In the end though, Suarez and Raburn will be the third base combo for 2017.