The Mariners acquired Eugenio Suarez in 2022 as a salary dump in the Jesse Winker trade. It turned out that he was the much more valuable player in that trade, putting up a 4-win season according to fWAR, along with a 130 wRC+. He was one of the biggest reasons the Mariners were able to end their longstanding playoff drought. Expectations were high coming into 2023 for Geno, as he was counted on to man the hot corner while being a big contributor in the middle of a Mariners lineup that was really missing a big bat or 2 already.
I am breaking this report card down into 3 grades, an overall grade, then a defensive grade and an offensive grade. I think we can all agree that Geno's offense was pretty disappointing this year for what we expected. However, I think it would be a disservice to him to not separate and highlight just how good he was defensively at third base, while playing 162 games, something that should never happen again!
Offensively, I give Geno a D+
I want to start off with the bad. I say bad considering the expectations because in reality, Geno had a 102 wRC+ and considering his level of defense, that is a pretty solid player. But when the Mariners are counting on him to be 1 of their 3 or 4 biggest contributors offensively, you can't really get "average" at a corner infield position.
The biggest issue for Geno was in the power department. For a guy that trailed only Aaron Judge, by 4 home runs at that, for total home runs between 2018 and 2022, expectations were that this would continue. A .496 slugging percentage during that time, was followed up with a disappointing .391 slugging percentage (18th in baseball among qualified 3B) and 22 home runs. My hope is that with a full offseason, not worrying about the WBC, he will return to form, and his slugging percentage will return to the mid 400's like he had done for the previous 6 seasons. He will probably hit in that 220-230 range and hopefully get up around or over 30 home runs again.
Defensively, I give Geno an A-
For a corner infielder that, throughout his career, has been known to be a big offensive threat, Eugenio Suarez was one of the best defensive third baseman in baseball. Defensive stats and metrics are so hard to get into for infielders because there are so many different factors. If you want a statistical backing of my grade, he ranked tied for 2nd in all of baseball with 11 OAA. He was first in the AL and nearly doubled the third baseman who ranked 2nd in this category, as Jose Ramirez was at 6 OAA. But if you watched Geno on a night-to-night basis, you knew you were seeing some very special defense.
His glove and range looked like he was a whole different player, and that's not to say he was a poor defender before, that's just how good he was in 2023. He made plays going into the 6-hole, going down the third baseline and charging the ball on a slow roller. One of the most impressive things about Geno is just his overall arm. His arm strength was impressive, his ease with which he was able to hit Ty France in the chest consistently. is something you take for granted. Geno was a very valuable defender for the Mariners and probably should win a Gold Glove.
Overall, I give Geno a C+
Again, Geno wasn't so bad offensively that he was a liability, but considering expectations, it was a bit of a disappointing season, but his defense really helped boost his value to this team. His offense was pretty average this year, but you need more power output from him. If Eugenio Suarez can return offensively to what he was the previous 6 years and maintain his defensive level, we are taking about a legitimate 5-win-player.
I would like to see Eugenio get a lot more days off and hopefully the Mariners can build that depth this offseason to keep Geno healthy and fresh. If he could play around the 145-150 game mark, I think that we would see the most value from him. Hopefully 2024 sees those Good Vibes return as Geno is easily a fan favorite and you can tell, just cares so much about this city and bringing playoff baseball to Seattle. Here is to Good Vibes in 2024 and Go M's!