Dipoto: New Mariners 3B Eugenio Suárez holding up his end early

Apr 14, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: 1:39 pm
Mariners Eugenio Suárez...
Mariners 3B Eugenio Suárez throws to first base for an out April 8 in Minneapolis, Minn. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Mariners acquired four players this offseason that have made an All-Star team inside of the previous four seasons. But of those four, Eugenio Suárez came into the 2022 campaign with the smallest expectations.

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A 30-year-old third baseman, Suárez owns the most home runs in baseball since 2018 but has struggled in each of the past two years, a shoulder injury playing a major role. Pair that with the fact that defense has never been his calling card and his contract earns him the second-highest salary on the team according to Spotrac, and there were some assumptions that the Mariners took on his salary as a means to pry 2021 All-Star Jesse Winker away from the Reds in the March trade between the two teams.

Mariners general manager and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said shortly after the trade that the M’s wanted Suárez and didn’t just take him as a salary dump by the Reds, and through the first five games of the season, Suárez is showing a glimpse of why.

After an 0-for-8 start in Minnesota, Suárez has since gone 4 for 12 at the plate with a homer, two doubles and a walk in the last three games.

Perhaps even more surprising has been his defense. Other than a ball that kicked off the heel of his glove during the rain-soaked second inning in Chicago on Wednesday (he was not charged with an error), Suárez has handled everything that has come his way. That includes an incredible diving grab and throw to first to record an out later in Wednesday’s game.

On Seattle Sports Station’s Jerry Dipoto Show, which airs live at 8:30 a.m. each Thursday, the GM was clearly pleased with what Seattle’s new third baseman has done early in the season. Dipoto is also glad to see Suárez, who spent some of last season at shortstop for the Reds, playing confidently back at his natural position.

“You know, I’ve really been thrilled with with his defense in total. That has been a refreshing thing,” Dipoto said. “After spending last season primarily as a shortstop, at least for the first half of the season and then moving back to third base, our thought was if we just get him back to his natural position and let him do the things that he’s always done, it will benefit us. And that’s been the case.”

As for the hitting, the Mariners just want Suárez (who also goes by the nickname “Geno”) to do what he does best, which is drive the ball – even if that means he strikes out more than other hitters in their lineup.

“Geno is is kind of a a streaky hitter and right now it’s going good,” Dipoto said (note: look at Suárez’s stats from his torrid September and October last season for proof of his streakiness). “He is on everything. We understand that strikeouts are going to be a part of his game but he’s also going to do damage, and between the homer and the doubles it’s been really refreshing to add that kind of sock to the lineup. And you know, now we need to get some other guys going and turn it into runs, but he’s holding up his end and we’re starting to see him get the bat going.”

You can catch The Jerry Dipoto Show live at 8:30 a.m. each Thursday on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM. Listen to this week’s edition in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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