Cincinnati Reds: Is Eugenio Suárez the best third basemen in the NL?

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 28: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after hitting a double in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 28: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after hitting a double in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Though he was shut out of a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove, is Cincinnati Reds’ third baseman Eugenio Suárez the best in the National League?

The Silver Slugger Awards were announced on Thursday night. The Cincinnati Reds Eugenio Suárez did not win. In fact, he did not win a 2018 Gold Glove either. Both are a little bewildering considering his productivity at the plate to go along with a very steady glove at third base.

The Suárez fan in me felt he would grab one of the two awards. Let’s explore why the Cincinnati Reds have one of the best third basemen in the National League and perhaps all of baseball, and why I always give a shout out of “AYE-YOU-HEN-E-OOOO!!!” when he hits a bomb.

As the hardware continues to be handed out for the 2018 baseball season, the Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado has won the Gold Glove Award, and now has won the NL Silver Slugger Award AGAIN. He led the NL in Home Runs with 38 in 2018 and has been an MVP candidate for the last four seasons.

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  • Arenado’s career WAR is 33.1 with 2017 being his highest at 7.2. He has also played in 876 Major League Baseball games in only six seasons of baseball. With a current salary of $5M, Arenado is a free agent in 2020 but is up for arbitration this season. With these numbers, no telling what salary Arenado will command on the open market a year from now.

    Let me preface that I am a fan of Arenado. In fact, the National League is blessed to have a plethora of third basemen with star power behind their names. We just saw another great one, the Dodgers Justin Turner throughout the 2018 postseason. Turner made $11M in 2018, and that will increase to $18M in 2019 and $19M in 2020. I am also a Justin Turner fan. Reds fans are well versed on the Cubs’ Kris Bryant.

    At the same time, the Cincinnati Reds All-Star Eugenio Suárez signed a seven-year contract extension prior to the 2018 season that will keep him a Red through 2024 season, with a team option in 2025.

    His contract escalates each season, with it increasing from $2.25 in 2018, $7M in 2019, then topping out at $11M for 2022 through 2024. The team option in 2025 is for $15M. After the proverbial kick in the mid-section of trading fan-favorite Todd Frazier, it is very refreshing to have the hot corner locked up in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future.

    Suárez is a steal, having been acquired from the Detroit Tigers in 2015 for Alfredo Simon. He just completed his fifth season of Major League Baseball, having played in a total of 640 games. He has already hit nearly 100 home runs, 327 RBIs, along with a .264 batting average.

    As the Reds rewarded Eugenio with a contract extension, he rewarded the Reds with a tremendous 2018. Suárez produced in 143 games (he had a stint on the DL after breaking his thumb being beaned by a Pittsburgh pitcher…imagine that), hit .283 with 34 home runs and 104 RBIs, along with a WAR of 4.2. Excluding his three games at shortstop, he had a fielding percentage of .948 with only 19 errors.

    Gold Glove Awards, MVP Awards, NL Silver Slugger Awards, and All-Star appearances are all tremendous personal accomplishments. Suárez has already achieved All-Star status, and I suspect that he will be a nominee for the above-mentioned awards for many seasons to come. I would have loved for Eugenio Suárez to pick up the Silver Slugger on Thursday night. My hope is that he will taste playoff baseball in a Cincinnati Reds uniform as well. He deserves all the best.

    In the case of both Arenado and Turner, their respective teams both have seen the postseason. However, when you get down to brass tacks, the Cincinnati Reds have perhaps their best player on the team anchoring third base for the foreseeable future.

    Suárez happens to be one of the top players in the NL in his position. There is not going to be a lure away to a major market any time soon. It is also fair to predict that based upon his age of 27, along with his track record of avoiding the injury bug, that Suárez will produce 2017-2018 type of stats for the next three-to-five seasons.

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    In the meantime, Arenado will be elsewhere, while both Turner and Bryant have shown a tendency to be on the DL more often than not. All things being equal, third base is an area that the Cincinnati Reds have done very well in both contract and productivity. In conclusion, do the Reds have the best valued third baseman in the NL, and perhaps all of baseball? This Reds fan seems to think so.