Offseason Report Card and Prediction: Third Base
A surprise player walked into Seattle to replace Kyle Seager and stole our hearts. Good Vibes only.
When the Mariners pulled the trigger on a deal with the Reds to acquire Jesse Winker they made the most impactful move of their offseason, though it wasn’t Winker making the impact. They essentially swallowed the remainder of the third baseman’s contract, who was coming off of a down year in Cincinnati.
Eugenio Suárez walked into the clubhouse and changed this team immediately. He went from a Kyle Seager replacement to an upgrade over Seager, to a hero in Seattle baseball history.
Coming off a few down years in Cincinnatti that saw shoulder injuries and time playing shortstop, Eugenio Suárez needed a fresh start with a team looking to win. He showed up and took his work with Perry Hill very seriously, and also embraced the “Control the Zone” philosophy.
This paid huge dividends for him, returning to the player he had been in the early years of his career. The 31-year-old put together a .236/.332/.459 season, smacking 31 home runs and 24 doubles. These numbers combined with above-average defense ranked him in a tie for seventh among all MLB third basemen in fWAR with 4.1.
He stamped this production with two of the most significant home runs of the season for the Mariners and came up in clutch situations when Seattle needed him most. He walked off the Braves and the Blue Jays, and came up huge in the first postseason game for the organization in over 20 years.
His production on the field was everything you could ask for, but his clubhouse presence may have been just as impactful. Being in the Mariners clubhouse throughout the season, you could see the energy and fun-loving nature he brought to the ballpark every day. His teammates love him.
His impact was truly felt when he took a groundball off the finger against the Angels on September 16. He missed 11 days after that, and Seattle went 3-6 in his absence. During that stretch, they suffered some of their worst losses of the season and at times looked utterly defeated.
Plugging Suárez back in seemed to mend all the struggles almost immediately. He was able to replace a player like Kyle Seager and then some, which is truly impressive.
He should immediately slide back into the third base spot every day next year. There is a chance the Mariners could acquire a third base upgrade and use him at first base, third base and DH, but regardless he will be an everyday player.
We are lucky to have him. Good Vibes Only.