The Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals have at least spoken to each other about a deal that would send the Nationals third baseman Eugenio Suárez. Jon Heyman of MLB Network is reporting the conversation has taken place, but “nothing imminent or believed anywhere close”.
If you are the Reds, you answer all the phone calls you get and you at least hear the other side out. In 2020, during a down season for Eugenio Suárez he was still roughly a league average hitter if we’re going to look at OPS+, where his 102 mark was the lowest he’s had since 2016 and was slightly better than the league average. The Cincinnati third baseman struggled to hit for much of an average, like many of the other Reds hitters in the truncated season, posting a .202 average. His walk rate and power helped lead to a .312 on-base percentage and a .470 slugging percentage.
Eugenio Suárez brings big time power to the field, clubbing 49 homers in a full 2019 season – setting a single season record for a Venezuelan born player. He’s also a solid defender at third base. But perhaps the most intriguing aspect for another team is his bargain contract. He’s signed from 2021-2024 for roughly $11M per season, and he’s got a 2025 team option of $15M with a $2M buyout. While plenty of teams are trying to cut salary today, with a vaccine active in the world now, finances should return to something more of a norm soon enough and if that happens the contract will continue to be viewed as quite team friendly.
Due to the contract being as team friendly as it is, if Cincinnati is going to move their starting third baseman, then the return is going to need to be quite large. Whether that is for one player, or a package of players – it’s not going to be a deal that doesn’t see some big names swapped.
Right now, nothing is close if we are to believe the reporting of Heyman. But if the team were to move Eugenio Suárez in a deal and not bring back a third baseman, there are some options that the team could look at when it comes to replacing him. The team is quite high on 2018 1st round draft pick Jonathan India. He stood out at Prasco Park among the prospects who were out in Mason and he’s been playing both second base and third base as a professional. That could be important because that means he could slide in at either spot on the diamond. And if the Reds decide to move Suárez that could open up third base for Mike Moustakas, who has spent most of his career at the position before he moved over to second base.
If the team is going to make a deal to move Suárez they could focus the return at a position of need. Perhaps it’s starting pitching. Maybe it’s in an effort to land a starting shortstop. Maybe a deal could help both, depending on how much money would be “saved” in the move and if it were spent on another player. For now all we’ve got is some talks, some speculation, and a rather cold stove here in the middle of December. But it gives us something to discuss, too.