Everyone knows Washington lacks a big bat behind Juan Soto in the lineup. Is Eugenio Suarez of the Cincinnati Reds the answer?
Friday, Nationals Twitter was sent for a frenzy when Jon Heyman announced Washington and the Reds had started discussions on a trade involving third baseman Eugenio Suarez.
This news comes as a surprise due to the Red’s moves from the last two years that brought in Trevor Bauer, Mike Moustakas, and Nicholas Castellanos and ended with a playoff appearance in 2020. Trading Suarez who has 124 homers since 2017, would set the team back significantly because he over the last few years, he has been the team’s most consistent bat outside of Joey Votto. Suarez underwent right shoulder surgery to remove loose cartilage before the start of the 2020 season, which played a part in his recent struggles at the plate. A year removed and Suarez should be back to his old slugging self.
From Washington’s perspective, this move makes perfect sense. Suarez is only 29 and has five years left on his contract at around $11 million a year with a little over 15 million due in the last year. The slugger would slot in behind Juan Soto in the lineup, adding much needed protection for the young phenom. Suarez, like the entire Reds offense in 2020, had a down season, hitting .202, with 15 homers, 28 RBIs, and an OPS .781. A career .261 hitter, Suarez should easily bounce back and would drastically improve Washington’s offense. A two-three-four of Turner, Soto, and Suarez would be one of the best in the league.
Defensively, Suarez is below average, posting -2 DRS and a -3.4 UZR at third. While Carter Kieboom would be an upgrade defensively at the hot corner, Suarez wouldn’t be leaned on to provide top tier defense. Instead it’s his abilities at the plate and his cheap contract that is the most attractive. In 2019, Suarez peaked with a career high 49 bombs and this would go a long way to once again making the Nationals offense a threat.
It makes sense that both sides are nowhere close on an agreement. Washington has the worst farm system in baseball and has no intention of damaging it any further. Carter Kieboom and one of either Seth Romero, Mason Denaburg, or Tim Cate should be a good place to start. Keeping Rutledge, Garcia, and Cavalli should be the Nationals goal.