Before the 2022 season started, there was a lot of uncertainty in the air about what the Mariners were going to do at third base. Kyle Seager was no longer here, and it didn’t look like there was a great option in-house to replace him. The Front Office came through with a different solution, acquiring Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez from the Reds, and Suarez would be stepping in to fill the vacant third base position.
Which Suarez would we get? The mediocre defensive player who was an offensive juggernaut from 2017-2019 who hit 109 HR with a 127 OPS+? Or, the guy who struggled in 2020-2021, playing bad defense and not providing a ton on offense? At age 30, it was likely a turning point in Suarez’s career. Would he find the offense again and make the contract (signed through 2025 pending an option) a bargain… or a hindrance to a young and burgeoning team?
Eugenio Suarez has proved the doubters wrong and is on pace to have his best season ever
With a seemingly healthy shoulder and back at the position he should be playing, Suarez looks exactly like the player we hoped we would be getting. No longer toiling away at SS with a bum wing, Suarez has been playing good defense at third (maybe a stretch, but it’s definitely solid and positive) with a chance to turn into his best defensive season ever, at least according to baseball reference.
He’s been a menace on offense this season as well, chugging along and putting up better numbers than most people realize. Sure, he still strikes out a lot, and in fact is the league leader in doing so. However, he is hitting .230/.333/.442 with 23 2B and 25 HR. 20 years ago, that wouldn’t have been anything special. This year, it’s good enough for him to rank T-47th in total WAR and T-32nd in oWAR.
I can’t help but think of how dumb some people seemed this year in saying that Eugenio Suarez shouldn’t be playing, that he wasn’t good enough, and that he should be losing at-bats to guys like Jake Lamb. I like Lamb, but this isn’t 2016 Jake Lamb.
If you’re going to go off of baseball reference (it’s what I like over Fangraphs, mostly because Fangraphs makes my computer run slow), then Eugenio Suarez is on pace to set a career-high in WAR. He’s at 3.9 right now, and on pace for 4.68, which would best his career high of 4.0. With an OPS+ of 126 this year, it’s easy to see he is definitely having a strong season for the Mariners.
It’s more to it than just the numbers for Suarez though. He came on to a team that was looking to replace their prior cornerstone in Seager. It seems like Geno has brought tons of great energy and a positive outlook to the team. Since he got here, it’s been Good Vibes Only, even when the team was struggling. He fits right in with the rest of the team, seemingly always happy and positive. He’s another reason why it is so easy to like this team.
Eugenio Suarez has been a wonderful addition to the Mariners this year, and without him on the team, there is a solid case to be made that the Mariners might be on the outside looking in instead of right in the thick of the Wild Card leaderboard. I’m happy he is here, that he is having the best season of his career, and like Suarez, I’m sticking with his mantra… Good Vibes Only!