The Reds head toward the offseason with three capable middle infielders to fill two positions for 2016. Zack Cozart was having his best offensive season before his injury even as his numbers were trending downward. He also has been one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball since taking over full time in 2012. Brandon Phillips continues to be a solid regular when healthy and a fan favorite. Eugenio Suarez has slugged his way into the conversation and as a 24 year old, has the most potential to improve and contribute long term.

Thom Brennaman has been championing a move to leftfield for Suarez and while I understand the idea, I think it’s a bad idea. Yes, the Reds do not have a clear choice for leftfield next year, but moving your best long-term option at shortstop to leftfield, a position likely to be filled soon by your best hitting prospect since the mid 2000s, seems shortsighted.

First, Shortstop is a much more important position than leftfield defensively. If a player can play an average shortstop, they provide more value than a very good leftfielder. If someone has the ability to plate shortstop, moving them to a corner outfield spot only decreases their potential value.

There are certainly questions about Suarez’s defense at shortstop, but while he will never be Cozart, he has the physical skills to be average or slightly better at the position.

In Suarez’s short time in the majors between 2014 and 2015, he has shown slightly above average range and a strong arm. His one major bugaboo comes from too many errors, something he may be able to cut down on as he continues to adjust to the speed of the Major Leagues. Poor range and a weak arm are difficult to improve; many players have shown an ability to cut down on errors.

Frankly, the Reds don’t have many good shortstop prospects, and Suarez represents their best chance at securing the position for years to come. And man does that bat play well at shortstop. Bryan Price may have recently said that the position is Cozart’s, but he has plenty of question marks as well.

Cozart has been an excellent defender for the Reds. He has been a very poor offensive player until this season. In fact, Cozart’s best season where he played the whole year was 17% worse than league average with the bat. I’m not sure that 214 plate appearances should change our perception of him as a hitter. Even at his best offensively, he is still a below average offensive player.

And so a big question arises in regards to Cozart: will he ever be the same after knee surgery? If Cozart isn’t an elite defender, he isn’t an everyday shortstop. Handing the shortstop position to a 30 year old coming off of knee surgery who has never shown the ability to hit at this level is a pretty big gamble.

Suarez playing leftfield in 2016 may be convenient in theory as it gets Cozart, Phillips, and Suarez all into the lineup, but it only complicates things if you look further into the future. Jesse Winker is coming. Whether we see him in the next few days, next season, or in 2017, Winker will soon take over a corner outfield spot. Phillip Ervin may not be far behind, and Yorman Rodriguez also intends to force his way into the conversation.

Making Suarez an outfielder will only complicate that situation. The Reds then have too many outfielders and only Cozart as an option at short not just for next year, but for several seasons to come. Top infield prospect Alex Blandino projects better at second base because of range issues.

Moving Suarez to leftfield and back to shortstop only slows Suarez’s development at a critical middle infield position, so that option makes little sense as well.

And we don’t even know if Suarez can play the outfield. He never has. Hanley Ramirez is an example of a former shortstop (and briefly third baseman) that moved to leftfield in order to accommodate talented players. Ramirez has been one of the worst outfielders in all of baseball. Ramirez was never a great defensive shortstop, but he is horrific in leftfield. Suarez might be better than Ramirez in left, but Ramirez’s story is a cautionary tale that should dissuade the Reds from making the same mistake the Red Sox did.

Look at how difficult it was for Marlon Byrd to transition from rightfield to leftfield. Byrd was a very good rightfielder, but this year, he has rated out extremely poorly by the best defensive metrics we have. Do we really want to take a shortstop who has never played the outfield and make him our everyday leftfielder? A guy who could lock down the shortstop position for the next five or six years?

What should the Reds do with Suarez in 2016? If the Reds are truly committed to getting younger, they might explore trading Brandon Phillips or Zack Cozart. Phillips likely has more value as a player not coming off major surgery and with a better track record. He probably wouldn’t bring back a lot on his own, and he does have full no trade rights, but the Reds might package him with others (Chapman? Bruce? Frazier?), and he may want to play for a contender before he stops being a starter.

I think Cozart’s injury will keep him from getting traded even if the Reds wanted to. If the Reds keep all three, they at least need to seriously evaluate whether Cozart or Suarez should start. Kevin had had a nice comparison last week between those two.

Right now because of age and the potential for improvement, I’d prefer to have Suarez as the everyday shortstop with Cozart as a strong bench piece. But if Cozart returns to full health without losing a step or two, he deserves the opportunity to compete for his job next Spring.

The Reds should not move Suarez to leftfield. He has too much potential as a middle infielder. With several outfield prospects knocking on the door and no real long-term solution at shortstop in sight, the Reds need to continue to develop Suarez as a shortstop. A middle infield of Suarez and the impressive Blandino should set the Reds up well for years to come.

Tough decisions lie ahead, but that’s why Mr. Castellini pays Walt Jocketty (or someone else this offseason) the big bucks. The Reds shouldn’t solve one problem by creating another. Suarez is likely the future at shortstop. For a Reds team about to lose over 90 games, the future is now.

67 Responses

  1. George Mirones

    Good stuff. Let me throw this idea out for thought, Cozart in left-field. The injury issue is real and just may limit his ability to play any infield spot, (diving, sliding, hard pivots, contact at second base).

    • Nick Carrington

      Like Suarez, my fear is the transition to leftfield for a guy who has never played the outfield, and I don’t think Cozart’s bat is good enough to play in leftfield. Of course, they don’t have many good options to start the 2016 season right now.

      It would have helped if Yorman Rodriguez was healthy now and playing leftfield on a regular basis. He has to be on the roster next season if I remember correctly, so the Reds need to figure out what they have in him.

      • Hotto4Votto

        And Yorman should be playing regularly. His ceiling is pretty high, and (IIRC) he posted an above league average OPS in AAA this year as one of the younger everyday players.

    • Matt WI

      No way is Cozart’s bat enough to justify an outfield corner. The Reds would have to have All-Stars everywhere else to absorb Cozart and Billy in the OF. Yikes.

      • greenmtred

        For a group of people who, justifiably, deride inflexible bullpen roles, it seems inconsistent to slavishly assign hitting expectations by position. Does it really matter whether it’s the shortstop hitting with power instead of the leftfielder as long as the team has enough hitting?

      • Matt WI

        That was my point… the Reds would have to have enough hitting everywhere else to justify that as a team. In isolation, it shouldn’t matter the position, but considering people are generally fretting over the offense as currently constituted, which includes Suarez playing everyday, how does moving Cozart to LF improve the offense in any way, shape or form?

        There are inherent expectations built in to the salary costs of what league average is for the position a guy plays. Cozart’s value is derived almost entirely from his defense and you give the offense a pass due to the nature of the SS position. You push him over to LF, his defensive value is mitigated and the team is weakened. The Reds end up paying a lot of money for a skill not being used if Cozart is in left, and at the cost of someone who might hit better than Cozart.

        Per baseball reference, an NL league avg. SS this year slashes: .257/.305/.386/.691

        An NL league avg. LF this year slashes: .259/.326/.413/.739

        For his career in the bigs, Cozart slashes: .245/.284/.375/.659

        So when you let Suarez play SS, you gain his bat, lose Cozart’s defense, and have to compare Cozart’s production to anybody else who would have otherwise been playing LF. A healthy Mes helps out somewhat, but then we still have an underperforming Billy out there in CF. Can the Reds continue to have 2/3rds of it’s outfield perform below league average and compete?

    • reaganspad

      Great article Nick but….

      I do not buy that if you can play shortstop, you might not be able to play LF.

      For every Hanley there is a Bill Russell or Robin Yount. and they went from SS to CF.

      If Schwarber can catch and play LF, then so can Mesoraco. Suarez and Cozart can both handle left field.

      But the rest of your article points to the reasons that Suarez should not, and I agree with all of them.

      But to say a SS cannot play left field should not be one of them.

      Joe Maddon plays everybody everywhere. He has 3 shortstops that he plays at SS, 2nd base and LF. He plays Bryant,the rookie of the year at 3rd base and RF.

      Baseball players play. Hanley Ramierez is an outlier with a questionable attitude

      • Nick Carrington

        I didn’t say they can’t do it. Many of them probably can. I’m saying that it’s awfully risky to count on someone who has never done it before to all of a sudden be your starting leftfielder. We have examples where it has succeeded (Yount and Russell) and examples of epic fail (Alonso, Ramirez). I’m afraid it isn’t worth that risk in this particular scenario.

      • reaganspad

        Alonso was not a shortstop, if you are referring to Yonder.

        and again I think Ramirez is an outlier. I agree with your article but disagree on this one point. If you are a ML shortstop, you are a ML Left Fielder as well, defensively.

        Cozart can play LF in an injured/rehab state and be better than average defensively. He may never be able to play shortstop defensively at the ML level again.

        Hope so, but we will see

      • Nick Carrington

        Reaganspad, I find this conversation strange because I agree with you. I also think you misunderstand my point. I NEVER said that most shortstops couldn’t transition to a corner outfield spot and do just fine. Most of them probably could because of how much more difficult shortstop is to play than leftfield. Shortstops are generally good athletes.

        Ramirez probably is the outlier. I didn’t use his example to suggest that shortstops can’t play a corner outfield spot. I use Ramirez to suggest there is some risk involved and to say in this case, it isn’t worth that risk.

        I also used Marlon Byrd as an example because I believe that most rightfielders could transition to leftfield without much difficulty. And that didn’t happen. So, the overall point is that just because something is likely in general (a shortstop playing solid defense in a corner outfield, a good right fielder playing a good leftfield), we can’t just assume it would happen. The risk in this case isn’t worth it.

        But yes, most shortstops can play a corner outfield spot. I didn’t say they couldn’t.

      • seadog

        You may as well have said it. You implied it with very bad analogies for two paragraphs…. Billy Hamilton played ss. Eric davis was a shortstop, I say take it a step further. Play him in Cf. Make Hamilton your 4th outfielder. They are baseball players.. Your best defensive players always come up as short stops. Then, many of them move to other positions. You make it sound like Suarez is a left-handed catcher…. Think before you post Nick…

      • Nick Carrington

        Seadog, thank you for the kind words. If I gave off the impression that shortstops cant generally transition to other positions, then my bad. Wasnt my intent and clearly should have explained it better.

        The Reds at least gave Billy Hamilton a full year in the minors to transition to the outfield, and Im guessing Suarez would need some significant time to transition as well instead of throwing him out there on day 1.

      • aceistheplace2

        I’m going to have to agree here. If Houston can throw Gattis out in Left, then pretty much anybody can cover that position.

    • jim t

      George, Cozarts bat will never play in Leftfield. Cozarts days are numbered. His production and the fact we have a cheaper better replacement will get him shipped out of town. He is a good field no hit SS coming off major knee surgery.. Lots of them out there to be found. Sourez is better and cheaper. His fielding will improve enough to make paying Cozart expendable

  2. RedAlert

    Nice article ! I’ll settle for the above- average bat and average defense ( at best / and hopefully). No way Cozart’s bat holds a torch to Suarez. No question on defense > Cozart hands down, although it certainly might be affected by the injury

  3. james garrett

    I am a little in between on this because if Cozart is healthy he should play because of his defense but Suarez has to play because of his bat.The off season moves may help clear things up some.

    • Michael

      First I want to say that I agree with Nick. Suarez should not be moved. He should be our starting shortstop next year. For the last few years we have heard how great defensively the Reds have been as a team. Where has that gotten us? Nowhere in October. You can’t win in the post season if you can’t hit. We can, and have, lose plenty of games 3-2 or 2-1. We need hitters who can hit.

      Anyone who pays attention to this team over the last 3 years now knows that our offense is the issue. The players we have do not hit enough and I am amazed that we finally find a player who is hitting and people want to put him on the bench in favor of a better defender. If we had a team of 7 great hitters, then yes, play a great defensive shortstop, but we don’t.

      It will be very interesting to see if this front office has the guts to re-tool the offense like they need to and not bring back the same band of Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Hamilton, Frazier, etc.

      • Michael E

        Well, to be fair, pitching is NOW our issue. We no longer have a good version of Latos, Cueto the ace or Leake and Arroyo the innings eaters. We now have a bunch of quality prospects vying and growing up, but certainly nothing close to an above average pitching roster going in to 2016.

        That said, the outlook for pitching is MUCH better than hitting as it stands at this moment. I am one of the few that DON’T want to trade pitching for hitting. I want a top 5 pitching team. If we get there in 2017 or earlier, we’ll be an instant serious contender, no matter the offense.

        I just hope a quality FA hitter can be found that isn’t 38 years old or coming off 15 surgeries. We need a real find, someone that is the opposite of most of our hitters, in other words, a player that rarely strikes out, has a good eye, makes the opposing pitchers work hard (many pitches) and has a good OBP.

  4. cleveredsguy

    No doubt in my mind the Reds’ course of action should be:

    1) To get younger.
    a) Trade Phillips to a contender for peanuts and hope they can pick up the rest of the $ owed to him
    b) Trade Chapman to a contender and get hitting prospects in return
    c) Trade Cozart who surely would provide value to a contender in need of a solid SS with one more year of cheap control with hitting prospects in return
    d) Trade Frazier for elite hitting prospects. 2 More years of Frazier is extremely valuable and would have the best return.

    2) Allow Suarez to grow into the SS of the future.
    3) Fill 2B and OF in 2016 with guys that likely won’t stick there long term but at least see what they can do and cut bait if they don’t cut it. (Negron types). Longer-term I feel like Winker and Blandino will fill RF and 2B while Suarez takes over SS.
    4) Filling the roster with guys you are potentially trying out will most likely net you another top 10 draft pick for the 2017 draft, we are going to get one for the 2016 draft after this year as well.
    5) Allow the young starters to continue to audition for the 2017 rotation during the 2016 season. Start calling up top prospects Winker/Blandino to fill 2B/OF roles later in 2016 to save on service time.

    By 2017 the Reds should have a decent idea of who of Stephenson, Lorenzen, Desclafani, Iglesias, Lamb, Holmberg, Sampson, Reed, Garrett, and Finnegan will fill out the rotation.

    The point is to use 2016 as the audition year for 2017 when they actually have a chance at competing. They aren’t far off now but the trades above would infuse them with cheaper talent and hopefully bring some younger hitters over. Jocketty has proven he can make trades.It would improve their draft position 2 years in a row to add more premium talent to the minors. I think Castellini should allow him to work his magic.

    • gaffer

      Unfortunatley you are right I think. Cozart will not be worth anything until he is fully healthy (likely a ways off).

      • cleveredsguy

        Why so we can just let him walk when we can’t afford him when we are finally good again?

      • yoitsscholzy

        I really don’t understand this. I’ve heard it a lot from Reds fans (and Walt Jocketty). Why should Frazier be untouchable?

      • Michael E

        I think you dangle him and see if another team comes calling with a great MLB-ready prospect package. I am talking a Correa, Bryant, Seager type and another good player (though I am NOT talking specifically about those players, they’re probably untouchable…. though MAYBE Seager could be had).

        Short of a eye-popping offer (that is a no-brainer), I would keep Frazier…for now. I would check in again at the deadline in 2016 and see if a bidding war could erupt between 3 or 4 offensively desperate teams).

    • ncmountie1

      Clevereds….you had me until Jocketty. Let’s start that strategy with a new GM & Mgr.

      • cleveredsguy

        Not the biggest of Jocketty fans but he is pretty competent at making trades, there has been few we have lost.

      • Michael E

        There are indeed much worse. I don’t like Jocketty in that he doesn’t seem to know how to get younger and better. He tends to gravitate towards grit and veteran and older. Maybe I am wrong though.

    • Michael E

      Frazier should bring back quite a bit, but I would still like to see Bruce sent packing as soon as the last out is made in 2015. I am tired of his one month of mashing and four months of looking like the 9th hitter on a T-ball team.

      I do hope they can move Phillips and Bruce.

      I also think all the young pitchers should free up money for hitters. We should have a very cheap pitching staff for the next four or five years (and probably above average as early as 2017), which means if we can rid ourselves of mediocre veterans (Phillips and Bruce), we can have quite a chunk of payroll ready to pounce on a trade or FA hitter that is just hitting his prime.

      • Michael E

        Oh, and include Chapman in dealings. Were he to be moved for a top prospect or two (or heck, a known good current young hitter), and his future high salary removed, the pitching staff my be fielded in 2017 with a mere $25 million or so…and be average or better. Then with Bruce, Phillips and Chapman salaries off the books, we could bring in (or keep) two very good hitters.

    • Armflapper8

      BAM! You nailed it all right here! +1000!

  5. ohiojimw

    If Suarez is the SS of the future (and I think he is for the foreseeable future) then he needs to be at SS and stay there. If 2B opens up, Cozart is the guy that needs to move, not Suarez, because it does not fit the rebuilding process to disrupt Suarez’s development and evolution at SS for year or 2.

  6. PDunc

    A few things that I know about this Reds team:

    1) Phillips, Frazier & Cozart are under contract through the 2017 season.
    2) Phillips has played reasonably well when healthy, but has had nagging injuries the last few seasons.
    3) Frazier has shown a pattern of hot hitting the first half of a season, and average-to-poor hitting the second half. Likely due to fatigue.
    4) Cozart’s playing ability is relatively unknown coming back from a serious knee injury.

    That being said, Suarez should keep SS as his primary position both for 2016 and into the future. The Reds need to find out though, if Suarez can also play and be a back up for 3B, 2B and/or LF.

    Best case scenario, in my opinion, is that Cozart returns healthy next season and continues hitting at something close to the rate he was earlier this year. Suarez can play shortstop, 2B, 3B and/or LF a game or two each week, helping to ease Cozart back in and rest Frazier and Phillips.

    Keep planning as if Suarez is your answer at shortstop then if or when Phillips, Cozart or Frazier is traded, Winker or Blandino joins the big league club or someone is injured that position flexibility will be a big value to the team.

  7. peter ponds

    Suarez should play 2B, SS and 3B in 2016 in order to rest BP and Frazier and build Cozart´s value up (if any). Then trade ZC if possible because he will get expensive and old. If Eugenio can get the job done, let him take over SS, if not, make him Frazier’s replacement after his extension is up. But please, don’t mess with him in LF.

  8. WVRedlegs

    There will be some turnover in the starting 8 this winter.
    Suarez = 2B.
    LF is already in the process of change. The Reds should go into the off-season with Votto at 1B and Suarez at 2B etched in stone. I would hope that Frazier, Mesoraco and Bruce are secure in their positions. That leaves SS, CF and LF to find a leadoff hitter. If the leadoff hitter is a SS or LF, then BHam should go in CF. But if the leadoff hitter is a new CF then BHam to the bench. Cozart is the main backup at SS and 2B. Barnhart at backup C. That’s the makings of a solid bench with these 3.
    BP and Pena are the odd men out. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. Some new faces are needed to help get this offense back to the top part of the league. I’m on record favoring trading some good prospects to the Rox for OF Charlie Blackmon to hit leadoff and move him to LF until Winker is ready. Then when Winker comes up, move Blackmon to CF and BHam to the bench then. Some people prefer to chase after Dexter Fowler in the free agent market this winter. That’s another big long term contract not to get involved with, which in turn could force a Frazier or Bruce trade.
    Putting a band-aid on LF and bringing back the same position players isn’t going to cut it this winter. No sir ree, bob tail ring.

    • lwblogger2

      I love Jay Bruce but apparently the FO doesn’t. I’d be very shocked if he wasn’t moved this off-season.

      • Michael E

        We then certainly disagree about Bruce. He is just too inconsistent. If you have a 3, 4 or 5 hitter than can’t hit a lick for 3 or 4 months each season, you are going to be hurting. No matter how great Bruce is for four or five weeks in the middle of the season, his putrid other months absolutely damage the offense and team. He is good fielder (not great), with a good arm. He is a poor hitter, good slugger and prone to severe streaks.

        I could live with Bruce, but knowing he isn’t getting better (in fact a bit worse) as a complete hitter, means its time to allow him to torpedoe another team…hopefully in the division (all the better for us).

  9. Hotto4Votto

    Good thoughts. I agree, Suarez should be the starting SS and definitely should not move to LF. I also think someone with the requisite skills should make a GOT-themed meme that says “Winker is Coming”.

    One disagreement, I don’t think Cozart would be a good bench player. One, he doesn’t have much of a bat to speak of for PH purposes. So he offers little in that regard. He also only plays one position. That really limits a ball club.

    If the Reds can’t find a suitor for Cozart they should non-tender him. He made a little over 2m last year after posting abysmal offensive numbers. Even in a half year he should be due for a raise after putting up solid (if not likely unsustainable) numbers. The Reds don’t need to play 3m+ for a bench player that is no-offense and only one position. Especially in a year where they aren’t competing. DeJesus will be just fine backing up the MIF.

    • lwblogger2

      I think there is certainly a chance that Cozart will be non-tendered. That said, because of the injury, he’ll be very unlikely to get much of an arb raise this year.

      As for your opinion about him only being a 1 position player, I think if you worked him at other positions he could do it. Also, if he’s even mostly healthy, he’s the best defensive SS on the team. He can come in at SS and whoever is there could be the one that moves to a different defensive position or goes to the bench. Say you want to give BP a day off. You could move Suarez to 2B that day and let Cozart play SS. Or, if you don’t want to disrupt things that much, you can see if Cozart can play different IF positions during spring training or extended spring-training/rehab if not healthy.

      • Michael E

        I tend to agree. Cozart is a solid SS, most likely still a below-average hitter. I am not sure tendering him is wise. I guess it depends on the cost of the tender, but right now the Reds need to par more fading/mediocre vets from the team and get on with hastening the obvious rebuild (this is NOT a reset, not with this extremely young pitching staff).

  10. Tom Billings

    Trade Frazier move Suarez to third. Get hitting prospects for Frazier that play the outfield so we can retool the outfield. If we move any of the current roster to LF it’s a sorry excuse for a fix and we will see another last place finish for the Reds

  11. DavidTurner49

    Interesting article and discussion. Suarez has been great this year, and I tend to agree that he should be the future SS, not LF of 2B. It’s going to be tough for Cozart to regain his form in the field and at the plate (especially his 2015 form at the plate). One question however- can we assume that Suarez will maintain his current level of offensive production? There’s not a lot to go on- two partial seasons at ML level. Two previous articles on him on this site are not as optimistic and Nick here. I seem to recall something about his babip this year likely being unsustainable, and there was a downturn in Sept 2014. We’ll see I guess.

    • Nick Carrington

      Excellent question. His BABIP is .332 right now, which he probably won’t sustain. Based on his minor league track record, we would expect him to walk more than he does now and hit for a little less power. We’ll see.

      Too early to tell, but the good news is he has already had some success at such a young age and may still improve. Success at such a young age is typically a good sign.

      • lwblogger2

        Not sure about the power aspect of your comment. Suarez is still quite young and his power may still be blooming. He may be a good bet to be in the 15-20 HR range for a few years to come if he stays healthy. I agree with everything else you say. I also hope that he doesn’t start getting it in his head that he’s a power hitter. He’s a nice hitter with some power and I hope he sees himself that way and not as a HR guy.

  12. Jim t

    Very puzzled how many fans assume the light went on for Cozart and the couple of months of good offensive production is now his norm. While I guess it’s possible the reality is that he was on a hot streak and would have soon reverted to his norm of past seasons. Did not see a long term future for Cozart in Cincinnati regardless now with the knee injury and a very good replacement I’m sure he is not our future SS. Next years team will be built with a eye toward the future. That means Suarez at SS. Chapman,Bruce and possibly BP will be plying their trades elsewhere next year. Playing your future SS out of position would make sense for a team with a chance to win but as I see it next years squad will be about be rebuilding.

    Next years starting 8

    Hamilton cf
    ? lf
    ? rf
    Votto. 1b
    ? 2b
    Frazier. 3b
    Mesoroco. C
    Suarez. SS

    That is not the batting order just a list who I think will be on the team for sure next year.

    • ncmountie1

      Jim T-I’ve brought this point up before as well–Cozart, Mez (14), & Suarez all having “career” years at plate. What is to say they will sustain those levels? I still fear Mez’s career behind the plate is going to be limited with his injury (and I know its’ supposedly fixable but who uses their hips more than catcher??) . I would be all for trying Mez or Suarez in LF but their long term hitting production is still unknown IMO.

    • Michael E

      “Chapman,Bruce and possibly BP will be plying their trades elsewhere next year”

      I can only dream…they are what they are, underutilized (Chapman), severely inconsistent (in a bad way…Bruce), and okay, but expensive and fading (Phillips).

      I would like to see them gone, regardless of whether we have a good player ready to replace them. All they would bring in 2016 is a sub-.500 team. We can do that without them and hasten the rebuild with a few pieces they bring back, not to mention lower the payroll commitments in 2016 by $30 million or so.

  13. Tom Billings

    I just don’t want Suarez to be a Negron. Gets called up looks good then the next year he isn’t. I know Suarez is at a higher level than Negron but just a situational comparison.

    • Matt WI

      I’d think at this point he’s had enough consistent play over a longer sample than we ever saw out of Negron. But, there is certainly reason to believe he might be hitting over his head. I’ve thrown out a worry that he ends up more like Jean Segura is showing over with the Brewers. All-Star to mediocre in seasons 1-3 of his career. Hopefully not, I’ve not looked and compared their peripherals or minor league stats in depth.

  14. tct

    I just don’t see the problem here. The Reds have been killed by a lack of depth over the past two years. And now that they finally have some decent infield depth with BP, Cozart, Suarez, and possibly DeJesus, people are just dying to trade that depth away. Why? I mean I wouldn’t be opposed to trading BP if he could bring back a legit prospect, but I don’t think he can.

    There will always be at bats to be had for good players. Look how many at bats the Reds have given to bad players over the last few years. Suarez should see time at third, short, and second, and he will get plenty of at bats.

    • vegastypo

      That is well stated, amen to depth. … I tend to lean toward there being nothing wrong with Suarez getting some time in left field next year, while primarily being an infielder, assuming 2016 is as big of a washout in the standings as most people think it will be. Just keep his bat in the lineup.

      I tend to fear that Mes is only one more concussion away from being moved out from behind the plate regardless of the hip recovery. Then it might be left field or bust.

    • Michael E

      I am fine with them staying (well, not BP at his cost), but the thinking is Suarez might not get enough ABs if Cozart and Phillips are starters. Cozart might go back to being an awful hitter with a bum knee and less range. Phillips will continue to field okay and hit mediocrely, but at a high enough cost that moving him makes sense to a team in obvious rebuild mode. No matter what Jocketty says, you can’t call this a “reset” when your pitching staff is crazy young and full of future potential and little current production. I have no illusion of contending in 2016, barring some GREAT offseason moves (not holding my breath).

      They need to trade Phillips (if anyone wants him…might not be at his age and cost), Bruce and Chapman. That alone will clear about $30 million in payroll or more. They could then find a better player or two to sign (or trade for) and be better in 2016 and for the future.

  15. Michael

    “Do we really want to take a shortstop who has never played the outfield and make him our everyday leftfielder?”

    Didn’t they want to do the exact same thing with our catcher? If the answer is to move Suarez from shortstop, which I totally disagree with, why not move him to third and move Todd to LF? Wouldn’t that solve 2 problems, solidifying the LF black hole as well as get Suarez’s bat in the line up? Just thinking out loud here….

    • MrRed

      Thinking out loud with you, but wouldn’t that make them worse in 2 positions vs. 1? Frazier is quite competent at 3rd base, so I’d leave him there, and, assuming Cozart stays at SS, then put Suarez in LF.

      • Michael

        Possibly……It always causes problems initially when you talk about moving players from one position to another but if Suarez is a capable shortstop with good range and a solid arm, the transition to 3B should be an easy one. Meanwhile, Todd has at least played LF in the majors, and his above average 3B defense should translate to above average defense in LF.

        Again, I think they should keep Frazier at 3B and keep Suarez at SS and find a new LF, Yorman or Winker preferably. But good conversation either way.

      • VaRedsFan

        Frazier is just OK at 3rd base….16 error so far this year.

        I’ve been in the Frazier to left and Suarez to 3rd (if Cozart is healthy) cam for a while now. If Mez has to do some time in left, then Suarez is the SS on those days, Todd back to 3rd, Cozart to the bench.
        I would be all for Suarez being a super sub (SS-3B-2B-LF) if he could grow into that many positions.

  16. Carl Sayre

    If Cozart can return to his form before the injury I don’t see Saurez as the starting SS, defensively Cozart is 10 times the SS Saurez is likely to be become. Saurez bat MUST be in the line up so LF seems the answer. Cozart can’t return to his form before the injury I don’t see him on the squad, his lack of hitting doesn’t command a roster spot if that sweet glove is tarnished by the injury. Suarez can play SS IF his bat continues and that is questionable I don’t see him as an average SS never mind slightly above average. My dream would be the Reds find a REAL LF and Cozart returns at the defensive level he was before the injury and can be a .270 hitter and force Suarez into being the baddest man to ever come off the bench in ML history.

  17. Jack Bradley

    What’s up I’m jack big reds fan, Indian hill native in cincy. Hear me out. We start the offseason by trading jay Bruce for zach wheeler (we should’ve done at the deadline). Then we trade chapman to the red sox for prospect manuel margot and a solid role player like a Brock holt ( domrowski will want to make a splash as the new gm and this is a fair trade margot is a great prospect but we’re not getting crazy demanding Yoan Moncada or bogarts, plus they have no where to put holt and he can be a nice platoon player til winker/yorman come up). Then I say we dump Phillips for anything. I know, he’s a fan fav but let’s think with logic for a minute- horrible contract and were not making the playoffs the last 2 seasons remaining on his contract. Then slide Suarez to 2nd base and keep cozart at short for now. also since we traded Bruce we need a short term solution in outfield til margot comes up so sign a cheap contract to like demon young (still hits well, kind of lazy but dirt cheap)