Eugenio Suarez is a happy person.
Often humming a latin tune in the clubhouse and showing his salsa moves, the 25-year old bore in Puerto Ordaz, Venzuela, is a good teammate known as Geno.
Don’t let his playful nature fool you. Suarez is a hard worker, determined to be the best thirdbaseman in baseball. He came to the Reds from Detroit for Alfredo Simon in 2015 and displayed some power when he replaced Zack Cozart at shortstop after the Reds’ starter was injured in June.
Suarez went to spring training last year intent on making himself a good fielding thirdbaseman.
“He understood the challenges but not fully until he started to play the position in games,” Bryan Price said. “He worked hard in the offseason knowing he was going to transition to third base, footwork and hands, but then he saw how quickly the ball gets on you, the bunts, the slow-choppers, awareness of who the bunters are, they’re became an even greater appreciation are hard it is to make that transition. His relationship with Freddy (Benavides) has really helped him. He’s the perfect coach from him.”
Suarez dances salsa on the scoreboard during rain delays and works hard on defense before games.
“It is my goal to be better and better every day,” Suarez said. “Almost every time I tell you I want to be the best thirdbase in the league. I try to do my best all the time on offense and defense to help the team.”
Suarez made some underrated plays Saturday night in the 5-4 loss to Miami. He made a stab to cut off a hit in the hole. He charged a slow roller for an out. Those who see him every day notice. The baseball world at large hasn’t caught up yet.
“A lot times, what makes the defense stand out is the offense,” Price said. “When you’re Arenado and you’re hitting .300 something and you’re hitting a bunch of homers and driving in a lot of runs and putting spectacular plays on top of it, the defense really elevates itself. And, we have to be a better team. When you’re on Sunday Night Baseball, and you’re coming off a postseason or a World Series you’re going to garner more attention. We’re not going to get that until we start winning”.
Suarez is observant too. He watches how other thirdbasemen position themselves.
“I watch Arenando to see how he moves, how he sets up for a ground ball coming to him,” Suarez said. “I think he is the best example that I have. He is the best thirdbaseman in the league and I want to be better than him. I will say better than him because that’s my goal.”
As for the dancing, Suarez was approached to dance in front of the camera. The Reds video team turned it into a scoreboard event.
“The other day the first rain delay, I saw it,” said a laughing Suarez. “I said wow, that guy is using my video for that. That’s funny. I like a lot. I like to dance salsa. Just Joey (Votto) told me I have some good moves.”
His walkup song ‘Mis Illusiones” is about the good things about his native Venezuela and there is a lyric that inspires Suarez to work hard to be the best. “Con trabajo ya vendran tiempos mejores.” It means “with work better times will come.”