Reds face 'nice problem' with Suarez, Cozart

Reds face 'nice problem' with Suarez, Cozart

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Reds have a surplus of shortstops heading into 2016 in Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez. Of course, both can't play the same spot at the same time because that would be against the agreed-upon rules of baseball.

After Cozart went down with a season-ending right knee injury June 10, Suarez has played brilliantly in his place -- especially offensively. How the Reds handle the situation in the offseason will be one of the club's more intriguing questions.

"I think about it quite often. It's a nice problem to have," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We'll have a lot more to say about that as we get closer to Spring Training. I think they both fit on our ballclub as regulars."

The Reds have entertained the idea of trying Suarez at another position and they currently have a vacancy in left field looking ahead to next season. Suarez could potentially play another infield spot like second base or third base, but that would require the trade of Brandon Phillips or Todd Frazier. Phillips has no-trade rights and two years left on his contract.

Suarez's nice glovework

With the exception of three games at third base, Suarez has never played a position besides shortstop in the Major Leagues. He's played 36 Minor League games at second base, 51 at third base and zero in the outfield.

"If they need me at another position, I would try to play there," Suarez said. "For me, the important thing is to play in the big leagues."

The Reds acquired Suarez in the offseason from the Tigers in a trade for pitcher Alfredo Simon. The 24-year-old was expected to be insurance in case something happened to Cozart. Before his injury, the 30-year-old Cozart was enjoying his own strong season and batted .258/.310/.459 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 53 games. He is expected to be recovered from knee surgery before Spring Training opens in February.

Suarez came into Wednesday batting .284/.322/.458 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs in 80 games. Cozart, who is arbitration-eligible after he earned $2.35 million this season, is a stronger option defensively at shortstop.

"Nobody has talked to me," Suarez said of potential future plans. "I'm ready for anything. I want to play in the big leagues, any position."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.