Here’s my latest column for Cincinnati Magazine:

As I predicted a few weeks ago, three Cincinnati Reds have earned trips to this year’s All-Star Game. Joey Votto is going for the sixth time, while Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez will make their first appearances on a National League roster at this year’s Midsummer Classic. Many thousands of words have been written about Votto and Scooter, and rightfully so. But I want to talk about Suarez for a moment, and here’s why: Eugenio Suarez is one of the best third basemen in the history of the Cincinnati Reds. And he’s still getting better.

Some of you are nodding your head right now. Some of you think I’m out of my mind. But is the statement above any crazier than that time I said It’s Garry Shandling’s Show is one of the top three television comedies of all time? I was right about that, too.

Hear me out. Last season, at age 25, Suarez posted 4.0 Wins Above Replacement. That is one of the top 25 individual seasons for a third baseman in Reds history. It was a very good season, but not quite enough to put him in elite territory. Yet.

Read the entire piece here, and let me know what you think.

13 Responses

  1. Shchi Cossack

    Even the Old Cossack was too young to recall either Groh or Lobert when they played 3B for the Reds, but from ‘08-’21 they had the hot corner covered.

    Perez played 3B because Lee May laid claim to 1B in 1967 and didn’t relinquish it until the trade after the 1971 season. As soon as 1B became open, Perez shifted off the hot corner to 1B. While playing 3B, Perez had fpct of .963, .952, .937, .923 & .959 from 1967-1971 respectively. As an offensively gifted hitter, Perez was not a good defensive 3B. That’s not a knock on Perez, but it segues nicely into my point that a lot of fans may dispute.

    Suarez has played 3B for 3 seasons, 2016-2018, with a fpct of .942, .976 & .934 respectively. I’m using fpct rather than another defensive measure simply to compare directly with Perez. Suarez had a good defensive season at 3B in 2017, but that was bookended by bad defensive seasons at 3B in 2016 & 2018. We all (the Old Cossack included) anointed Suarez as a great defensive 3B based on his single outstanding defensive season in 2017. I believe we jumped the gun on that evaluation.

    Nick Senzel still awaits a permanent defensive position at the MLB level to get his bat in the lineup and his reputation coming through the minor league system was a gifted defensive 3B with his spectacular offense overshadowing his outstanding defense. Maybe it’s time to plant Senzel at 3B and move Suarez to another position where he will provide better defense. His bat will play anywhere. With his arm, RF looks like a perfect match and he would have an entire off season to adapt to RF defensively. I suspect he will be better defensively in RF than either Winker or Schebler and I also suspect that would upgrade the 3B defense at the same time. That would solve the issue of finding a defensive home for Senzel once and for all and move toward getting the 8 best players on the field.

    • greenmtred

      Suarez has made some sloppy errors this year, Cossack, but they–the ones I’ve seen–looked like attention lapses. Time will tell: He may never replicate 2017, but I don’t believe it was luck that year. He did what he did, which was play outstanding defense, and I find it hard to believe that anything fundamentally shifted in such a way that he couldn’t do it again. However, your right field idea is intriguing.

  2. cfd3000

    Solid stuff Chad. I have one complaint but I’ll get to that later. It seems like we’ve spent decades hoping for the next good Reds third baseman. We had can’t miss prospects who missed, aging veterans who were good but kept aging, and misplaced hope in infielders who were never going to shine. And now the Reds have a great third baseman in Suarez who is a delight on and off the field, and a top prospect in Senzel who may be just as good. That’s a nice problem to have. Eugenio deserves more good press, and more of our cheers.

    On the complaint – RLN is awesome, and you and Steve and all the writers are fantastic ambassadors for the rest of us ordinary Reds fans. So I’m disappointed by your representation of Alfredo Simon. From what I know he may have done some awful things, maybe even criminal. And he certainly had no future on field value to the Reds when he was miraculously converted to Suarez by trade with Detroit. But the “bloated corpse” line was unnecessary and doesn’t represent Reds fans well. I wish you’d stuck to the baseball facts on that one.

    Thanks as always for all you do, and I for one am glad you’re at the helm of our RLN ship. Even Eugenio may strike out once on a 4-5 night. Steady on, Captain.

  3. wkuchad

    I don’t know about 3rd base, but Larry Sanders Show was better than It’s Garry Shandling’s Show 😉

    • lwblogger2

      “I don’t know” “3rd base” … Intentional? If so, nicely done.

  4. WVRedlegs

    We have the whole second half to determine if Suarez’s defense is regressing at 3B. He is much better suited for a move to the OF than Scooter is. But I would also suspect Geno would be better defensively at 2B than Scooter is. They are just running out of places to hide Gennett defensively. No at 2B, no at 3B, no in LF, and no in RF. He can’t even pitch to help out the bullpen in blowouts with his bad shoulder. Gennett is going to require shoulder surgery in the off season. His bat will suffer next year after surgery. Remember Ryan Ludwick? I can see the same happening with Gennett. Trade him NOW !!!!

    • greenmtred

      Makes sense, but there are two worms in that apple: He’s tearing the cover off of the ball and the Reds are winning and, 2, every other team in baseball knows about his shoulder. Would he bring anyone of equal value?

    • Jeff Reed

      Yes, trade Gennett to an AL team (DH). The Reds should not get stuck in another injury situation similar to Bailey.

  5. jreis

    do the reds dare try to shop Joey and move Suarez to first. Plug Senzel at third, his natural position?

    • Bill

      The trade Votto subject has been beaten to death. He has a full no trade clause and does not appear to have any desire to move. If Votto wanted to leave and he could return starting pitching I am sure the Reds would listen, however finding someone in need of a 1B who could take on that contract, who Votto would agree to be traded to seems like an impossible task.

  6. Jeff Reed

    I don’t see that Suarez is yet in exclusive company but I do think he has one positive in particular, among many, and that’s presence.

  7. lwblogger2

    I still love, and I do mean absolutely LOVE “…the bloated corpse of Alfredo Simon”

    • Matt WI

      I agree, makes me laugh… I’ve always read it as a funny, stylistic way of noting that he was d-o-n-e as a pitcher and that’s all. And it’s only 1/2 the derision with which the voice of the Reds speaks on a regular basis.