Following a breakout year, third baseman couldn’t beat the Cincinnati Reds in arbitration.
Despite a breakout season, Eugenio Suarez lost his arbitration case to the Cincinnati Reds. He asked for $4.1 million, but ended up with $3,750,000. It saved the Reds a few hundred thousand dollars, but the decision was worth more than that.
It means that Suarez will cost significantly less than second baseman Scooter Gennett in 2018 and likely beyond. Gennett just won his arbitration. He will make $5.7-million in 2018.
Since Gennett won his case, Suarez will cost nearly two million dollars less. Their production will likely be close while Suarez projects just a touch higher. Of course, Gennett’s left-handed bat is usually worth more salary, as well as his position flexibility.
More importantly, the Reds have a few highly touted second basemen in the minors, but just one top prospect in Nick Senzel. Gennett could also play third, but there is not evidence that Suarez could play second. Essentially, Gennett is worth more in the short and medium terms to the Reds.
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The decision also makes Suarez increasingly attractive to other teams across baseball. With Senzel nearly ready for the majors, Suarez may be running out of time in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Suarez has moved up the third baseman rankings.
The Cincinnati Reds have an interesting situation given where Eugenio Suarez fits among starting MLB third basemen.
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There were 21 third basemen in 2017 that started more than half the games of the season. Of those 21 players, Suarez was in the exact middle of the group with 81 runs created. His five runs saved was just one spot ahead of the average of three runs saved.
Evan Longoria was the only other third baseman with exactly 81 runs created in 2017. He is making $13-million or more for the foreseeable future. Longoria was the best defensive third baseman in the American League. However, Suarez has improved in that arena.
Suarez is actually better than the hottest free agent at third base this off-season. He beat out former Kansas City Royal Mike Moustakas by 4 runs created and 11 defensive runs saved. Moustakas is considering several offers. It appears that he is looking at a five plus year deal worth over $75-million.
In this environment Suarez may be better as a trade piece than as a Red. This, of course, relies on confidence in Senzel. He must be the next big thing. Sometimes, you just have to take that leap.