If you are one of the many people who have been screaming at the top of their lungs all spring that Eugenio Suárez should get a look at shortstop, well, you’re voices have been heard. After the game on Monday, Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell made note that Suárez would be getting the start at shortstop on Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies. Bell also noted that Mike Moustakas would play in the game at third base.

“Geno’s (Eugenio Suárez) going to be playing short tomorrow,” said Bell. “He’s been working throughout camp, off and on, still focusing on third base as well. But we’ve seen enough in camp and knowing his background, that is his original position being shortstop, we’re going to take this opportunity in camp to see him play a little bit at short and kind of just go from there. If nothing else it’s good for him, and it also creates more flexibility for our infield. We’ve all seen him play a lot of shortstop over the last couple of years in the shift, but obviously starting the game there it’ll be his primary position there tomorrow. We’re looking forward to seeing it.”

There’s a lot going on here, but let’s talk it out. The Reds need a shortstop. Eugenio Suárez used to play shortstop, but it’s been quite a while since he played there with any sort of regularity. But he took things rather serious in the offseason, trimmed down some, and got in much better shape. If you’re ever going to consider it again, now’s the time to give it a look – especially considering your other options.

Now, let’s assume for a minute that it were to work out, at least in the short term (say for 2021). That would open up third base for Mike Moustakas, which is where he’s played most of his professional career. That move then opens up second base for someone. Perhaps this is the opening needed for Jonathan India to make his way onto the team as the second baseman.

Of course, we may all be getting ahead of ourselves thinking about the “what if” because we haven’t actually seen what Eugenio Suárez looks like at the position right now. But he has been working out at the position this spring and David Bell has seen enough to warrant giving it a look in a game.

83 Responses

  1. Klugo

    I like it.
    I mean, he plays there in shifts.

  2. BZ

    The best of all the bad options. This allows India to get his starting spot.

  3. TR

    Good news. Jose Garcia should be ready in 2022 to be #1 at shortstop.

  4. AllTheHype

    He might be worse there than Choo was in CF. So much for a pitching first team when you give the other team 4 outs in some innings.

    • BZ

      So you’re okay with giving up a free out every time through the lineup offensively but not with giving up a free out defensively every couple of games?

      • AllTheHype

        Let’s unpack your statement.

        First, Suarez was already in the lineup. So on the offensive side we’re talking about the difference between let’s say India (if he gets 2B with Moose to 3B) and let’s say Garcia. That “may” be a positive difference on the offensive side, but not a given.

        On the defensive side, you are comparing Suarez to Garcia because defense at 2B and 3B will be a negligible difference.

        It’s a move that makes little sense unless they think India can overperform to the point where he makes poor up-the-middle defense worth it.

      • BZ

        Let’s unpack your statement.

        You are acting like Garcia is the guy at SS. I absolutely agree with you if Garcia was the SS but he will likely start in the minors. Garcia’s defense would more than make up for whatever offensive struggles he may have. The problem is I think the real options were Farmer or Gordon. Neither hit or play great defense at SS. Suarez is the better option out of those two. The offensive production India will provide will outweigh the whatever Farmer or Suarez could provide defensively which isn’t much.

    • Doc

      Winker – how many free outs does he account for?
      Castellanos – how many free outs does he account for?
      Suarez at third – how many free outs does he account for?
      Votto – how many free outs does he currently account for?

      Maybe moving Moose to third and Suarez to short, with India at second, will have a net reduction in free outs. Maybe… Won’t know if they don’t try.

  5. Mark

    Translation: my front office didnt go get one of the 3 good SS on open market. So i can play my former backup catcher, or a kid who was in High A ball pre Covid. I have a decent rotation, but my FO bent me over a barrel. So I’m gonna play the guy who gained 25+lbs since last time he was there and we told ‘become a 40HR 3B’ cuz I want to keep my job through this season.

    What could go wrong?

    • MK

      Get over CoVid did not give them the money to sign a top shortstop.

      • Mark

        Or a reliever they DFA’s who was chump change as middle-reliever. Or
        The Cy Young award winner. Or the (granted over priced) closer for last season.

        Nope, we all gathering nickels and dimes out of the sofa.

        Hey, what did Castellini buy the team for again? And-while at it-what Forbes say Reds are worth again? Oh yeah, pretty nice investment. Don’t tell me about “profit only on paper til sold”. Ya took ownership, that means OWNERSHIP.
        And ya decided the company ya bought that has generated 10X the profit to you was not worth a 5% cash influx.

        Remember-if you buy a Reds jersey this year? You invested more into this team that the Castellini family has.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Pretty much. The Reds FO did David Bell no favors this offseason.

  6. Jack

    Glad he decided to get in shape finally.

  7. eddiek957

    Has it been longer since Strange Gordon played there? If Geno can play a passable shortstop I like infield with Moose at third. Don’t hurt to look

  8. Roger Garrett

    Why not?He will be the 5th or 6th guy to play there already in 15 games so lets just throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.Lets see a 15 hopper to the right side evades Joey and Moose so lets try it on the left side with Moose and Eugenio.Where is Trevor Bauer when you need him.Count me in on this move because if India gets to man second base I can live with it.More then likely it will be Gordon which then will give us the oldest starting infield in MLB and most slow pitch soft ball leagues.How on earth did we get to this point?

    • Mark

      Castellini…but hey, sure the ole “chip off the old lock” CFO can find a place in GABP to put in a new bar!

      4th place in cruddy NL Central is gonna be awesome!

  9. MBS

    It might be too soon to call up India, I’d put Senzel at 2B. Until Shogo returns, Aquino can start CF with Heineman as the 4th OF.

    Senzel, Votto, Suarez, Winker, Castellanos, Moustakes, Aquino, Barnhart

    Or, Suarez looks out of his depth and we start Farmer or Gordon at SS.

    • DaveCT

      India looks pretty ready for me. Blandino, too, as a utility guy.

      • MBS

        So did Garcia last spring, and Senzel the spring before. Spring is not a good barometer for a Rookie. I am not saying India won’t succeed if he gets the call out of spring, I’m just more in favor of letting a player push their way onto the roster during the season.

      • DaveCT

        India looks, much much more mature than last seen, and, more mature than many of his peers. . Trust me, this kid is ready and hungry. He has the look. Get out if the way. This is what ready looks like. Commanding attention, on the field, at least.

        Play Geno at short. Keep him there until Jose is ready. Who cares, really? It’s a no holds barred season, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Move Moose to 3B. Let others spell Joey at 1st. India at 2B. Easy peasy.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I agree Dave, Blandino has looked ready for a bigger role this spring and India looks to be pushing for spot on the roster this season.

  10. Mark

    There not another MLB team-including Pirates/Orioles-fill in your team here-who would put THE STRANGE at SS

    Yet, a team who wants to sell WE GONNA COMPETE! Is actually showing their fans this as a viable option a month into Spring Training.

    • Roger Garrett

      Your right and I saw the same thing a week ago.Team is the laughing stock of baseball.You can’t make this stuff up.He was guaranteed from the day he signed to make the team with a chance to start at short.

    • DaveCT

      I agree. Dee Gordon should be released. He does not have the arm for SS, his offense is very weak. It’s painful. He’s a good Indy League candidate.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I’ve hoped since we signed him we would never see him in a Red’s uniform. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear I’ll get my wish. It’s the “we got Jack for it” all over again, but this time more Strange.

  11. Big Red Flag

    I mean fine, play Geno at SS or play someone else. The hard truth is it’s not going to matter a great deal.

    This team is unlikely to contend for a World Series title in 2021. Even if everything goes extremely well (how often does that happen?), they may compete for the division title. I actually think they will have a better shot at the NL Central than they will a Wild Card.

    I love the Reds and have been following them since 1970, but the roster is so poorly constructed and a big chunk of the team’s payroll is tied up in 1B/DH types.

    I don’t see any hope in the immediate future. I’m afraid we may have to wait until after the new CBA is in place and a few bad contracts come off the books before the organization starts heading in the right direction.

    Maybe in 2024 or 2025 a plan will start to come together but even then it’s going to take someone with vision to put them on that path. I’m not confident Nick Krall is the person to do it.

    Sorry, maybe I am just being over critical, but I am 60 years old and I worry I won’t see another championship in my lifetime.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Let me defend Krall. He has been given absolutely nothing to work with moneywise. With that in mind, he has executed the clear plan of bringing in former high-draft-pick pitchers (latest being Carson Fulmer) with the idea that the current pitching coaches can bring the best out of them. He has zero to work with, but he has put the Reds in position to maybe have a surplus of pitching which they could use in trades or in the likely event of pitching injuries.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I like the move to give Suarez a look at short. If he can play it with even average skill, that opens second for India. Based on what’s happened this spring, that’s worth a try.

      • Optimist

        Agreed, and would add he’s already taking the strength DIck W left him (back office/pitching staff/minors development) and adding marginal MLB talent there. Even with all the injuries, there seems to be enough quantity, and we’ll await the quality, but even that is better than the 2015-2019 era.

        As for the $$$, I still think the plan is if in contention, make a move for a rental SS at the deadline, and if not in contention, shed more $$ at the deadline, both options to be ready for next year’s FA class.

        Next year’s assignment remains shedding last year’s FA signings, prepare for Votto’s exit and get Lodolo/Greene/hopefullySantillan ready to go.

      • Kenneth Lugo

        Do we really know that he’s been given absolutely nothing? Or are you just assuming that?

      • Scott C

        I agree Tom. Sometimes you just have to play the hand your dealt. Right now this may be the best overall solution. And since it is still March it is all speculation.

      • Stock

        Best post on here Tom. I agree 100%. The Reds lost Bauer and Disco to FA. They gave away Iglesias. In spite of that they may very well have a better ERA in 2021 than they had in 2020.

      • Roger Garrett

        I agree the surplus may turn out to be the way to get some young prospects.You have to give him or somebody some credit for bringing in Johnson as pitching coach.Lots of pitchers can throw a ball thru a brick wall but he has a way of making them more then a thrower.I tend to agree it is a plan more then luck so props to Krall as well.

    • Rednat

      i feel you big Red. i am older than you and I have basically given up on the idea of living long enough to see the reds go to the world series again. i felt in 2019 we were going in the right direction. fans were starting to come back to the stadium and the owners were at least trying to build a winner. then the pandemic hit and 2020 was a complete loss. it looks like in 2021 our governor will only permit 30 % capacity so it will be another big financial hit for the team so it will be years before the team opens up the wallet again.

      • JayTheRed

        The 30 % is only for the start of the season. If covid continues to go down then that percentage will increase. maybe in July or Aug.

  12. MK

    India caused this move. If Blandino plays gritstone until Votto is back that will mean a third baseman at all 4 infield positions.

    • JB

      And a 3rd baseman in centerfield! You get a 3rd baseman and you get a 3rd baseman and you…….

    • SultanofSwaff

      5 third basemen on the field at the same time. Love it! 🙂

      • Doc

        Could be interesting if they all hit like the prototypical third baseman!

  13. Dan

    Is Suarez really a better option at SS than Senzel or India?

    I mean, if they’re suddenly ready to think a little outside the box… wouldn’t you want to try it with the younger guys at SS too?

    I’d say give Senzel and India some reps there. What’s the harm?

    • Doc

      At least Suarez was a shortstop at some point in his professional career. When has either Senzel or India ever been a shortstop?

      No one commenting has likely ever seen Suarez play a game at SS, yet they seem to know all they need to know to offer a firm opinion. Everything, that is, except any direct knowledge or assessment of whether he can actually play shortstop.

      • AllTheHype

        Why the need to see? He played SS for 1500 ML innings when he was 5-6 years younger and 15 pounds lighter (even after losing 15 this winter). And even then, he was a far below average SS. There is not some miracle potion that is going to make him anything but a very poor defender at SS,

      • MBS

        @All, you have a better memory than I do. I only remember we traded Alfredo Simon for a rookie SS named Eugenio Suarez before the 2015 season. The Reds called Suarez up to play SS when Cozart got hurt that season. The Reds traded Frazier, and the next season Suarez was moved to 3B to fill that hole, since Cozart was healthy again. I don’t remember him being a far below average SS.

      • AllTheHype

        @MBS, luckily they have stats for such things, and when you play 1500 innings at a position, you have enough playing time to make a judgement about defensive performance from stats. All a person has to do is look it up, along with his recent performance at 3B, which has also been below average.

      • MBS

        OK you got me, he isn’t a great defender.

        What options do the Reds have? Farmer? Blandino? These guys were transitioned from SS in the early minors, at least Suarez has played 2 seasons as a SS. The team doesn’t have a complete SS. I don’t understand the need to look at the negative. It’s not like we can sign a competent FA, and a trade for Linder has passed. I’d rather the Reds have done one of those options, but their budget didn’t allow for it. I’m not going to say they couldn’t afford it, but they we’re at least unwilling to spend it.

    • Melvin

      I don’t think they want to mess with the mind of Senzel and him trying something else. Otherwise I would put him at short. How much worse could he be than our other current options. IMO CF is the most likely place for him to be able to settle down and hopefully stay healthy…. I said hopefully. I’m not holding my breath. As for who should play SS honestly if Suarez has lost that weight how much worse can HE be than our current options. At least he can hit and he’s played it in the majors. haha I’m sure every guy on our roster has played it at some point in his life including pitchers. LOL When you’re young and you’re good you pitch and play SS. That’s almost a given. There may be a lot of them saying to themselves, “Hey. If we’re going to have a roster like this why not try me at short.” LOL SMH…I’m sure Lorenzen wants to no doubt. 🙂

  14. DaveCT

    At this point, there may not be much to
    lose, especially if the benefit is India at 2B.

  15. DataDumpster

    This team is getting a lot more entertaining than I thought possible. You would tend to think that the offseason would largely firm up the roster but now it seems like a sudden death competition for SS, 2B, 2-3 Starting Pitchers, the Closer and the myriad utility men.
    In many ways, this SP has been insipid but if we have David Bell getting thrown out of games while the team implodes (while finding another monthly star or two) , there could be some entertainment value here and the impetus needed to blow it up mid season. I’m in!

  16. JayTheRed

    I like the idea of Suarez at SS again he did a pretty good job just a few seasons ago and with him getting back in shape I think he could do a more than adequate job there. He definitely can hit better than the other options we are trying at SS.

    I also like the idea of giving India a legit shot at winning 2b. He sure seems a lot more confident than I have ever seen him in the batters box.

    Moose to 3b no issues there has been decent there most of his career.

    I do still think Dee Strange makes the team out of the gates with Akiyama not starting the season and he will probably get a few starts at SS possibly as well.

    • DaveCT

      If Geno is minimally competent, for, say, 7 innings at SS, just do it at this point. Bring India up. Clear the path a little, motivate kids below. Find a gem among AlfRod, Holder, Blandino, etc., please not lowest level retread Strange-Gordon. Por. Favor?

    • jazzmanbbfan

      While I don’t have a strong opinion about Suarez being tried at SS this year, you are being kind to say “he did a pretty good job” when he played it. My eyeball test, and I think the hard numbers agree, that he was somewhere between bad and awful when he played SS for the Reds. I remember groaning many times when the ball was hit to him.

  17. Frank

    I like this idea a lot. Remember, Suarez came up as a glove first shortstop.

    Now he has a great bat, maybe a little less defence, but he still will be average.

    Moustakis is solid at third.

    Blandino or strange at 2nd.

    With all the infielders we have, this is probably the most suitable option.

    Jonathan India has done everything he can and then some, but as noted by others: this is spring training, we dont need a last years garcia in the big leagues. Give him and garcia time in the minors, and next year we will have a formadable left side of the infield.

    • AllTheHype

      Suarez was never a glove first SS. He was never a good defensive SS at any point.

      • JayTheRed

        Lets see the stats to back that statement up. Just cause your the only one that thinks he is terrible at the position does not mean you are correct. If memory serves me I believe he was at least league average defensively but I honestly feel at this point the team should give him a try there over our other options at SS.

  18. GreatRedLegsFan

    Said so long time ago, it’s a much better option than throwing in the likes of Farmer, Holder or Gordon that may provide some better defensive skills, especially in Holder’s case, but next to zero in the offensive side. If FO didn’t pursue any FA to fill in, it’s likely because there’s no real intention to compete this season while allowing to transit the post-covid economy and getting rid of the bad contracts.

  19. Melvin

    Suarez was not good at all when he played short before. That tells us what a sad state our roster is in terms of SS options when he is the best. Those who say he already plays short a lot anyway during the shift let me reiterate something Doug has pointed out before. That is the reason he’s playing short in that situation is because it’s the place most likely not to be hit to. He didn’t get many chances. When he did last year from what I saw It wasn’t very good especially turning the DP.

  20. JoshG

    During the off-season I was one saying Suarez could not play SS anymore since he had bulked up …. but that was before he slimmed down… he definitely does look lighter on his feet now… so it’s worth a look

    • Old Big Ed

      That is my feeling as well. He has been a below-average third baseman at his former weight. However, he seems to have seen the light on nutrition and fitness, as is apparent both by his new body and his comments. So, he is likely the best option, which I did not believe a month ago.

      He may well be the worst defensive SS in baseball this year, but the Reds can live with him if he can make the routine plays. His problem at third has been lazy and undisciplined footwork, which causes (among other things) bad throws. His much better fitness level will help on that.

      The move will also improve the rest of the infield defense. Moustakas will be a wash with Suarez at third, but India will be a big upgrade defensively at second. The Reds had a bad defensive infield to begin with, and I doubt this move makes it any worse.

      This is a bridge to Jose Garcia, who some seem to dismiss. The Reds asked the impossible from him last year – to move from A+ to MLB, and from Prasco to GABP in July having seen no live game pitching sine early March. Garcia will be a very good MLB shortstop by mid-2022.

      I am very optimistic about this team. I like a lineup of Senzel, Winker, Castellanos, Votto, Suarez, Moustakas, India and the catcher. The bench is legit. And I trust Derek Johnson with the pitching staff, because there is no reason not to.

      • Doc

        Seems everyone assumes Garcia will be the man next year. What has he hit in spring training? Less than my age, and I am under 100, and above 000. Upon what is based the confidence that a year in AA or AAA makes him a competent hitter? More likely, he needs to advance through the minors one level at a time, demonstrating competent hitting improvement at each level. I bet he is at least 2 years away, probably 2023-24. He is no Ronald Acuña or Juan Soto offensively. No reason to believe he should advance at their pace.

  21. Melvin

    “this would have nothing to do with, zero to do with a reflection of how he’s played at third base if we end up going in this direction. If we did make the transition, I like the fact that we’re making it not based on a lack of performance at third base” – David Bell

    I would hope not Mr. Bell. One does not usually move someone to SS because he’s playing a poor 3B. SMH 🙂

  22. SultanofSwaff

    I don’t put much stock into this one start. Remember, the Reds played Senzel at SS for like one or two games before (made all the plays btw) a couple years ago. Until Geno plays there multiple days in a row, I think this is just a cover your butt move.

  23. Ron

    If they decide to do this on a regular basis, then I definitely think India plays second base. India will help this team more than Farmer or Strange-Gordon. I like Farmer off the bench, but not as a starter. Strange-Gordon is not going to help this team. Period.

  24. Tom Reeves

    Geno’s bat at 3B is pretty strong. His bat at SS is huge (if he can handle the defense).

    I hope Garcia’s bat improves in the minors this year and he’s the long term SS. But Geno might be a solid SS for 2021.

    If I were Jonathon India, I’d be hitting Geno ground balls 24/7 until he gets the role.

    • Roger Garrett

      I like it about India hitting Geno the ground balls.You right Tom whatever it takes.

  25. Roger Garrett

    I said this in an early post and must repeat it again that if this clears a place in the infield for India then count me in.Whoever plays short has little impact on how good this team will be.Its one player and the Reds are multiple players away from being a winning organization.Just making the play offs like last year only showed how bad we really are compared to the rest of the league.While the organization maybe happy with just a few more wins each year I am not.In order to be competitive each year or at least more years then not they must come up with a long term plan and have the people in place to make it happen.They continue to just throw things out there and hope and pray it works just like this auditioning at short stop.The next window for this team is 2023 and I would just love to see them start doing things on and off the field that shows they see it as well.One of those things is playing younger players to see if they will be a part of the 2023 team.Another is to look at trading from what seems to be a surplus of pitching for young position players.A third thing is to pay the pitching coach whatever he wants to stay.Everybody needs pitching and this guy appears to know how to develop it.

    • DataDumpster

      Agree. The unreal number of injuries may have a silver lining in that they will be forced to give younger players more of a chance than the merry-go-around approach of David Bell. A trade of one of our better younger players, the offloading of some veteran’s salary, and a hard look at mid-season manager effectiveness could usher in some good years soon if they don’t waste all this year following the same losing strategy employed thus far.

      • REDSMAN

        Melvin, +100!
        That is a great DBell malapropism!
        It constantly amazes me how a ‘manager’ can say so much without making any sense. Isn’t communication a necessary skill for someone in his position?! Apparently not.
        If we ever get a new owner/ownership group…first order of the day would be to fire Mr. Bell.
        I shudder to think how low this once proud organization may sink if Big Bob does not surrender the reigns soon. This charade being foisted upon the good Reds fans is nearly the lowest point this century. Aarrrgggghh!

    • Mark

      I think this team is overall poor defensively. And placing an average defensive 3B at SS only further weakens the defense. Run prevention is going to be important.

      • VaRedsFan

        Geno isn’t even average 3B defender. He has actually gotten worse over the last 3 seasons or so.

  26. west larry

    I’m not happy with this unless he plays short once or twice a week, playing Indio at third on his shortstop and off days. I hope Rodriquez or Farmer starting five or six games a week at shortstop. Garcia at short in 2022 for 140 starts. Go reds!

  27. Jimbo44CN

    I don’t think it means much except Bell getting pressure from above to try this combo of Suarez at Short and Moose at third. If Bell had his way he would probably platoon Gordon and Holder, and then change his mind and bring India up for a game, then send him back down, then bring Blandino up for a game, and then send him back down and then the same with Garcia. Sorry but I just don’t think Bell is a good manager. With him gone we might have a chance to compete, with him here all season, not so much.

  28. DataDumpster

    Judging from the juggling of players and positions, it appears that the management does not realize that “Who’s” on first, “What’s” on second, and “I Don’t Know” is on third is an unsolvable problem.

    • Roger Garrett

      Bell loves this kind of stuff and this is the reason he needs to go as far as I am concerned.I don’t believe managers make that much difference in wins or losses.The best ones were at one time the worst because players win or lose the games.Bell just loves to make people believe he does make a difference by his juggling of lineups,juggling of who plays where and his trademark of changing relievers until he find the one that doesn’t have it that day.His only job is to put his best players in the best position to win the game and that can’t happen if he keeps doing the things I just mentioned.Often the best move is the one you don’t make.

      • TR

        A version of the old Quaker saying that often the best thing said is what is not said.

  29. kim henry

    Reds need offence. Forget the high dollar, popular names, go with who is hitting out of camp. Payton, Heinneman, India, and Blandino need to start. Heinneman at fitst, India at second, Blandino at short, and Payton in left. Yes, Moose and Winker sit until they start hitting.

  30. Jimbo44CN

    Spring training does not always translate. I remember how good Garcia was a couple of years ago. If you look across the majors now, there are still a bunch of regulars not hitting very well. The last two weeks of ST is a much better indication than the first three.

  31. doofus

    “In 96 games at short in 2015, Suarez posted miserable marks with minus-12 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-10.4 Ultimate Zone Rating.” ~Connor Byrne, MLBTR