Eugenio Suarez is headed to the desert…
The Arizona Diamondbacks have acquired the 32-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball infielder in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, filling their vacancy at third base and adding much-needed power to their lineup.
The reigning National League champion Diamondbacks were in need of a third baseman when three-time All-Star Evan Longoria became a free agent this month. Longoria, 38, appeared in just 74 games during the regular season but started 16 of 17 games at the hot corner during Arizona’s postseason run.
“It adds a little bit of stability at that spot,” Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said. “He’s a guy we’ve liked for a long time.”
Suarez will make just over $11 million in 2024 — the final guaranteed year of a seven-year contract that also includes a $15 million club option for 2025. His 7.2 WAR over the past two seasons is ninth among all major league third basemen.
Suarez batted .232 with 22 homers and 96 RBIs but also struck out a league-leading 214 times this past season, his second with the Mariners. He was an MLB All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds in 2018 and enjoyed his best season in the majors the following year, when he had a career-high 49 homers and 103 RBIs.
But Suarez has struggled to make consistent contact over the past four years, starting with the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season when he batted just .202 despite hitting 15 homers in 60 games with Cincinnati.
Suarez, who has batted just .221 since 2020 and has led the American League in strikeouts in each of the past two seasons, will join a Diamondbacks lineup that finished tied for 10th in the National League this season with 166 homers.
Arizona ranked 26th in baseball in WAR by third basemen in 2023. Of the five players who played that position for Arizona last season, three are already off the roster — Longoria is a free agent, Josh Rojas was traded to Seattle at the trade deadline, and Buddy Kennedy was lost on waivers to the St. Louis Cardinals. Jace Peterson and Emmanuel Rivera remain from the group and figure to fill reserve and/or platoon roles.
Vargas, 24, made five relief appearances during the regular season while Zavala, 30, is a .210 career hitter in parts of four seasons with the Diamondbacks and White Sox.
Jerry Dipoto, president of baseball operations for the Mariners, said the club envisions Zavala as the backup to Cal Raleigh entering the season.
Moving on from Suarez will be hard to sell to a fan base full of skepticism about the direction of the club after Seattle missed the playoffs and Dipoto’s misstep with some of his postseason comments. From the outside, it appears to be a move to clear salary, erases a key leader from Seattle’s clubhouse and leaves a hole at third base.
“Adding Seby and Carlos is another step toward building the type of deep roster that is required at the major league level,” Dipoto said. “Seby is an experienced catcher with excellent defensive skills who will team with Cal behind the plate. And Carlos is a young reliever with the type of ‘big stuff’ that our staff has done a wonderful job developing over the years.”