Diamondbacks Acquire Eugenio Suarez in Trade with Mariners

Eugenio Suarez flashing a thumbs up. Suarez joined the Diamondbacks Wednesday after a trade with the Seattle Mariners.
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Eugenio Suarez Traded to Diamondbacks by Mariners

Eugenio Suarez is now an Arizona Diamondback.

The Diamondbacks filled their need for an everyday third baseman, nabbing Suarez — a power-hitting right-hander — in a trade with the Seattle Mariners Wednesday. In exchange, the Mariners get catcher Seby Zavala and right-handed reliever Carlos Vargas.

“We have been looking for an everyday third baseman,” Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said. “This is a guy that adds a power element, good defender, everyday player to a position that we’ve been platooning for a few years now.” He added that Suarez is “an incredible clubhouse guy” and that the Diamondbacks have lost good clubhouse guys with the departed free agents.

What Suarez Brings

Eugenio Suarez, 32, has played 10 years in the majors. Seven of those came with the Cincinnati Reds, with whom he made the NL All-Star team in 2018. That season, he slashed .283 (149-for-527)/.366/.526 with 22 doubles, two triples, 34 home runs, 104 RBI, 79 runs scored, a .376 wOBA, and 30.5 wRAA. The timing of that season was excellent, since the Reds had given him a six-year, $66 million contract extension with a club option for 2025 two weeks prior to the beginning of the 2018 season.

The following season, 2019, was even more productive for Suarez. He slashed .271 (156-for-575)/.358/.572 with 22 doubles, three triples, 49 home runs, 103 RBI, 87 runs scored, a .381 wOBA, and 34.8 wRAA. But the next two seasons, 2020 and 2021, were far less productive. In 57 of 60 games in the shortened 2020 season, Suarez slashed .202 (40-for-198)/.312/.470 with eight doubles, 15 homers, 38 RBI, 29 runs scored, a .332 wOBA, and 2.3 wRAA. The following season, he played 145 games, slashing .198 (100-for-505)/.286/.428 with 23 doubles, 31 homers, 79 RBI, 71 runs scored, a .306 wOBA, and -3.9 wRAA.

Sent to Seattle

During Spring Training 2022, the Reds shipped him to the Mariners with outfielder Jesse Winker for right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn, outfielder Jake Fraley, left-handed pitcher Brandon Williamson, and right-handed pitcher Connor Phillips. His first year in Seattle was a vast improvement over his previous two seasons, albeit not as productive as 2018 or 2019. Across 150 games, he slashed .236 (128-for-543)/.332/.459 with 24 doubles, two triples, 31 homers, 87 RBI, 76 runs scored, a .344 wOBA, and 17.2 wRAA. This past season, Suarez played in all 162 games. He slashed .232 (139-for-598)/.323/.391 with 29 doubles, 22 homers, 96 RBI, 68 runs scored, an AL-leading 11 sacrifice flies, a .314 wOBA, and -2.9 wRAA.

There is a downside to his offensive game — strikeouts. In 2018, he struck out 142 times vs. 64 walks. Strikeouts were even higher in 2019, as he whiffed an NL-leading 189 times vs. 70 walks. The punchouts continued to climb during his two seasons in Seattle, leading the AL both seasons. He fanned 196 times vs. 73 walks in 2022 and fanned 214 times in 2023 vs. 70 walks. The 214 strikeouts in 2023 were the seventh-most ever recorded in a single season.

Careers of Zavala, Vargas

Seby Zavala, 30, came to the Diamondbacks on waivers September 6 after the Chicago White Sox designated him for assignment. Zavala has been a career backup catcher. He played five games for the White Sox in 2019, keeping his rookie status when he returned to the majors in 2021. His strength is defense, as his wRAA was -18.6 during his time with the White Sox. He played seven games for the Diamondbacks during his month with the team, one as a position pitcher. In the seven games, he went 5-for-14 with a double, two RBI, two walks, two strikeouts, and two runs scored.

Vargas, 24, made his major league debut March 30 with the Diamondbacks. He pitched in five games before being sent back down to the minors. Vargas gave up runs in three of the five appearances, allowing three total over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven while walking four. Two of the five hits he allowed were home runs. This translated to a 1.929 WHIP in an extremely small sample size.

To make room on the roster for their new acquisitions, the Mariners designated right-hander Ryan Jensen for assignment. This removed him from the 40-man roster and gives the other 29 teams a chance to claim him on waivers. If he goes unclaimed, the Mariners can either release him or send him to the minors.

Looking Ahead

Zavala and Vargas are both pre-arbitration and will be a minimal hit to the 2024 Mariners payroll.

Suarez will be in the final year of his contract in 2024, with the Diamondbacks holding a $15 million club option for 2025. He will make $11.286 million in 2024. Hazen said that addition to the payroll will not prevent the team from spending money to make other necessary moves, namely in signing a starting pitcher. In addition, the team did not trade from “the top of the farm system,” according to Hazen. So they still have prospects to trade, if necessary, to fill other holes.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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