We have spent the better part of a year trying to find the right kind of targets for the Cincinnati Reds, though they certainly don’t need to read Red Reporter dot com to identify targets. They’re smart folks. They know what they’re looking for. In Cincinnati’s case, it’s generally cheap, young, semi-established pitching, the kind that comes with years of team control worth shedding prospects to acquire but that also won’t break the bank on a limited budget. Also, they need to be on teams that don’t have immediate World Series aspirations, since why would a team that’s supposed to be that good trade an asset like that?
That’s how we keep landing on the same names, really. It’s why we’ve looked at Noah Syndergaard and his three years of team control, for instance, and why Chris Archer was such a sought after piece while in Tampa on his extremely team-friendly deal. It’s why Raisel Iglesias has seen his name pop up as major trade bait ever since emerging for the Reds at the big league level. Those kinds of pieces are among the most rare and most prized in the game, and it should come as absolutely no surprise that teams that do not have them 100% desire them.
Enter the San Diego Padres and Eugenio Suarez, since he’s apparently quite the desired piece for the owners of the worst NL West record in 2018, according to Jay Posner of the San Diego Union Tribune.
Some of you will read this - the headline, at least - and yell that WALT JOCKERTY IS JUST GONNA KEEP TRADING AWAY THEIR BEST PLAYERS. That is not what this is. This is not the Reds shopping Suarez, despite the odd concept floated earlier this week by a local football writer who dabbles in baseball when bored. This, folks, is a pretty good acknowledgement that Suarez has been a rock-solid player on a bad team and that the Reds managed to sign him to a damn good contract when they did.
Suarez the asset, Suarez the player, Suarez the bubble-blower should be wanted by most teams in baseball. Hell, there are plenty of teams out there that would probably love him at SS, much less 3B, especially after he proved in 2018 that he’s not just a product of 81 home games in GABP. And considering they’re going to move Wil Myers - their best 3B option from 2018 - back to the OF, I’d be shocked to hear that Suarez was anything other than one of their absolute top targets this winter, especially when they know the Reds have Nick Senzel waiting in the wings.
This is also not me saying I would trade Eugenio Suarez to the San Diego Padres. At least, I wouldn’t trade him to San Diego for the price that San Diego is probably willing to stomach. That’s not to say that they don’t have what it would take to bowl me over, though, with one of the most elite prospects in the game in Fernando Tatis, Jr., as well as a loaded farm system with the likes of Cal Quantrill and Mackenzie Gore, among others. They also have a bevy of young, big league caliber pieces already on their roster, like CF Manny Margot and Tommy John surgery recover-er Dinelson Lamet, all of whom would make for a pretty interesting return for the Reds.
The Padres probably aren’t looking to deal, say, Margot/Lamet/Quantrill for Suarez, but I’d crunch a lot of numbers on a deal like that before a definitive no, if I had that kind of authority. And I think that’s the biggest takeaway point here, really - the Reds found a really good young player on a really, really savvy contract, and he’s a piece that most any team would love to have.
What’s relevant to the Reds here is that hoarding those kinds of players when you have them is how you build a really good club going forward. The Reds have one, and teams are going to want those. Now I just hope they can find ways to go get more of those.