Reds: Like it or not, Eugenio Suarez must return to shortstop

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 10: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds blows a bubble while standing at third base. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 10: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds blows a bubble while standing at third base. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

You may not like it, but it’s coming. With Mike Moustakas having begun his rehab assignment with the Louisville Bats, it’s only a matter of time before the three-time All-Star returns to the Cincinnati Reds lineup. With that, Eugenio Suarez will once again be the team’s starting shortstop.

The majority of Suarez’s starts since Moose went on the injured list have come at third base, a position he’s very familiar with. Moustakas has been on the IL since May 20th, Suarez has started just one game at shortstop.

Eugenio Suarez will soon return to shortstop.

Whether or not you want to believe that a player’s defensive positioning can hinder one’s offensive production, it’s hard to ignore the difference between what we’ve seen from Eugenio Suarez when he plays third base and when he’s counted on as the team’s starting shortstop.

Since Moose went on the IL, Geno’s hit .205/.283/.446 with six home runs and 14 RBIs. Those aren’t great numbers, to be sure, but they certainly trump his .576 OPS and slash line of .154/.230/.346 when the 29-year-old spent the majority of his playing time at shortstop.

Kyle Farmer is Cincinnati’s best defensive infielder, and you cannot convince me otherwise. Heading into the 2021 season, I was perfectly content with Farmer being the Reds’ everyday shortstop. However, the emergence of Jonathan India has made me change my tune, and there’s no possible you replace India in the lineup and shift Moose to second base.

Cincinnati signed Moustakas to a four-year/$64M contract prior to last season with the intention of deploying him as the team’s starting second baseman. While Moose can certainly handle the position defensively, he’s a much better defender at the hot corner.

Reds manager David Bell has yet another dilemma.

Just when David Bell seems to have figured out how to handle his underfunded bullpen, it appears he’ll have another fire to put out; how does the Cincinnati Reds skipper divvy up the playing time among the infielders?

Bell will have to find way to get Kyle Farmer into the lineup. However, the Reds’ skipper can’t just platoon Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakas at third base. And Jonathan India has to continue to be the team’s leadoff hitter.

Suarez’s defensive struggles while playing shortstop have been well-documented, but the fact of the matter is, he came into the season as the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop, and fans should expect that to continue once Mike Moustakas returns from the IL later this week.