Barring an utter catastrophe, the Cincinnati Reds will keep Eugenio Suarez at third base for the entirety of 2018.
With the arrival of top prospect Nick Senzel on the horizon, the Cincinnati Reds have no plans to move Suarez off of third base. Last year Suarez improved from the worst defensive third baseman in the National League to among the best. Suarez also increased his home run output for the fourth consecutive year to 26.
Some have called for Suarez to shift back to shortstop in order to clear room for Senzel at third base. That would also allow Jose Peraza to be a bench player where he flourished in 2016. Unfortunately, Suarez had extreme difficulties at short in 2016.
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Long term, Suarez can’t stay at third base. Senzel will end up there sooner than later. The pace of Senzel’s promotion through the minors is making the Reds take a quicker look at what to do with Suarez than was the original plan.
Long term, Suarez likely ends up either in right field or at first base. That means that he needs to outlast one of the outfielders or Joey Votto. The Reds could also move Suarez to another team.
Eugenio Suarez may not fit in the long range plans for the Cincinnati Reds
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Suarez is headed to arbitration this month. He is expected to earn about $4-million in 2018. That is a great number for his productivity, but not a great number for a rebuilding team.
That makes Suarez an attractive trade piece for the Reds. The sooner that they trade, the more that they are likely to get for him. It makes deciding whether Suarez is a part of the long range plans for the team so vitally important.
With Senzel penciled into third base for the next three to six years and Joey Votto in the middle of the largest contract in franchise history, there are not many options for Suarez. He could move to the outfield, but that would require that Adam Duvall or Scott Schebler move at the very least. That would allow Suarez to move to a corner outfield position.
Of course, Duvall also will never be worth more than he is now. That makes clearing roster space an important task. If the Reds keep these players, Suarez will quickly become an expensive bench piece.
Whatever the Reds do in the long-term, he is the third baseman right now. He will bat second in the line-up just ahead of Votto. From there Suarez should be able to hit a new career high in home runs.