2017 Reds

Zack Cozart Is Not Brandon Phillips

Photo: The Enquirer/Gary Landers

Photo: The Enquirer/Gary Landers

There has been a great deal of talk lately about Brandon Phillips and his refusal to be traded. Much less talk has revolved around Zack Cozart, even though many think both need to be replaced with new young players.

In a way, the decision on what to do with Cozart is much more complicated than what to do with Brandon Phillips. The Reds, essentially, are looking to give Phillips away. Every team is aware that he’s unlikely to be worth his contract. He’s probably a good bet to be just a hair above replacement level. Not so with Cozart.

Over the course of his Reds career, Zack Cozart has played in four seasons worth of games and generated about 10 WAR. That is, he’s been a 2.5 WAR player during his career. 78 position players were worth 2.5 WAR or more last year. Given that there are 30 MLB teams, that’s not that many.

Cozart is entering his age-31 season and, so, he’s likely to decline a little bit. It’s reasonable to call him a 2.0 WAR player in 2017. That’s worth a lot more than the $5M or so he’ll get paid in 2017. And that means he has surplus value that other teams, in theory, should be interested in.

If the Reds, right now, let everyone know that whoever wanted Cozart could have him for a sack of baseballs, he’d be gone. And that would be a terrible trade. However, none of the teams you’d expect to throw prospects at a one-year rental are in the market for a player like Cozart, which makes getting a decent return for him difficult. And there’s your problem.

Barring something unforeseen, the Reds aren’t likely to find a taker in the offseason who’ll provide value for Cozart, meaning their options are thus:

  1. Trade him for pennies on the dollar.
  2. Play him most every day and assume a need will eventually develop on a contending team.
  3. Use him as a utility player and hope this doesn’t damage his trade value.

This is a tough call to make. Unlike, Phillips, Cozart is pretty likely to be a good major league ballplayer in 2017. It’s hard to bench good players, even when it might be right for the team. It’s ridiculous to just give good ballplayers away, as well.

I think the most likely scenario is that the Reds enter 2017 with Cozart as their starting shortstop and Jose Peraza as a super-sub wherein each player ends up with four or five starts a week. That’s not particularly satisfying, but it is much more understandable than if the Reds were to open the season with Brandon Phillips playing at second base every day.

Zack Cozart is a good player. He’s nowhere near the perfect player and he won’t get a chance to be on the next competitive Reds team, but that doesn’t mean he should be cut loose, either.

74 thoughts on “Zack Cozart Is Not Brandon Phillips

  1. Your assessments are correct, Jason. Add to the list that Cozart ended the year hurt and you have very little probability of getting value in return for trading him now.

    That said, if he comes back to ST in good health and shows he can still play, the plan should be to wait until another team has their SS go down with an injury and then the Reds can level the playing field in a trade.

    The real debate in my opinion is whether the Reds should continue to start Cozart everyday at the expense of Peraza’s playing time. 2017 is not about how many games the Reds can win but figuring out which players are part of their future. Would the Reds get a trade return for a healthy and starting Cozart that would justify sitting Peraza? I’m not really convinced that they would. Maybe you can resolve some of this tension by making Peraza a super sub, but that’s still not a very satisfying result because then you’re forcing Peraza to play all over the place on an inconsistent schedule. That didn’t appear to work for him last year.

    • The longer you wait the fewer games ZC can play for his new team, as well as an increased risk that a potential trading partner today finds another option before we can move him.

      We can backfill Cozart, esp with BP not going anywhere. I say move him if you can get a return any better than a lottery ticket.

  2. The question is not whether Zach is a decent player. The question is what is the value of a one year player, coming off a serious injury that may be still bothering him, who we can easily replace internally for no cost, on a 85-90 loss team, AND costs 5 million. That money needs to go into prospect acquisitions (like international free agents or even a trade to eat money but get prospects). This article made sense last July but the Reds missed out on a good pitcher in trade for no freeking reason.

    This is actually somewhat like the Mets excercising Bruce 13 million option. They didn’t want to waste that perceived value. Now they are stuck with a guy who they have no use for and limits there ability to sign others.

    • Actually a better way to look at it.

      Option
      1. Trade him in July 2016 you get Gohara AND money to sign a top 100 prospect (2 players)

      2. Release him now get $ for a top 100 prospect (1 player)

      3. Keep him get no players

      We missed the first chance, which options better now?

        • Yeah, not sure what he means by that either? Is this referring to signing international free agents? If so, that’s not actually how the team’s budget works. There’s the payroll budget and there’s the budget for drafts and international signings. It’s not the same pool of money. There’s also limitations on how much can be spent on international FAs anyway and believe, me Cozart’s $5MM isn’t going to affect the team’s ability to spend what they want on international FAs.

    • Gaffer? for a guy that works with lights, you don’t seem to be too bright when it comes to baseball.

    • C. Trent said that the story about the Reds/Ms deal that falling through last year at the deadline was false. He said that story had no merit. There apparently was no trade for a pitcher that was anywhere close. The Reds probably should have moved him at the deadline but it wasn’t bungled because they were too focused on moving Bruce.

      • Interesting. I did not see that story but it would be a nice exoneration for what was perceived as another FO misstep. Did C. Trent elaborate on why Seattle executives would have publicly come out with this misinformation? If there was indeed no merit to their claims, this would be a nice way to burn bridges with not just the Reds but with other teams around the league.

        • No, it didn’t get that far. A few of us were harping about it on Twitter and C. Trent basically said that the information about the Cozart and the M’s wasn’t accurately reported.

  3. Certainly this is not the best solution but the Reds may be in the position of this is the only solution they have. I would certainly, at this point take less for Cosart than he is probably worth (supply and demand but I certainly would not just let him go for nothing. Phillips on the other hand needs to go regardless

  4. A 2.5 WAR player that has hit 2.5 WAR only once in 5+ seasons! 😉

    I agree with your stuff Jason. Cozart is a fine player, and has been.

    Turns out, he’s actually been the 7th most valuable defender (non-catcher division) in MLB since his debut, behind only Simmons, Hardy, Pedroia, Crawford, Heyward, and Machado, while player fewer innings than most above him.

  5. The Reds may just have to be more open minded with the Cozart situation. The best option of trading him for a prospect may just not be available right now. So…

    Option 1: Trade him for a similar major leaguer with an extra year or two of control. The problem with Cozart is not that he is not valuable. It’s that this is his last year under contract and the Reds are probably not winning this year. 2018 and 2019 could be different stories. If the Reds could get a solid backup, 1 win type player for 2 or 3 years, that could be helpful. A good example would be Seth Smith. The Mariners basically gave him away for a player who is more expensive and less valuable. Smith wouldn’t work for the Reds as he only had 1 year left also, but if you could find a guy like that with 2 or 3 years left who is not needed by his club, then it could make sense.

    Option 2: Turn him into a utility guy. Jason says that this would hurt his trade value, but I am not so sure. Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist are all the rage these days and if Zack could prove that he could handle second and third, as well as short, it may make him much more appealing at the deadline. This would also have value to the reds as it would open up a starting role for Peraza at short, with Herrera hopefully taking BP’s spot at second, while still allowing the Reds to give the young guys some rest every now and then. Nott sure how Zack would react to this kind of move in his walk year, but if it helps his trade value it shouldn’t hurt his free agent value.

    Option 3: Extend Cozart for a couple more years. A radical option and probably not a good move, but the reason Zack has little value to the Reds is because his contract is up after this year. But what if it wasn’t? I have no idea what Zack’s market is gonna look like next winter or, more importantly, what Zack thinks his market is gonna look like, but the fact that the Reds are having trouble getting anyone to give up anything of value for him can’t be a positive sign. For me an extension would be contingent upon Zack being a super utility guy and would have to be relatively cheap for it to make sense, but I could see it being a decent move under certain conditions. For all the talk of the middle infield jam, when you look at where the Reds will need back ups the most in 2018 and 2019 it looks like the infield. Unless you are just a big believer in Vincej or Alf Rod. I am not. Zack as a super utility guy would be much more valuable than the DeJesus’s and Wilson Valdez’s that the Reds usually carry as their backup middle infielders. But how much would it cost?

    • The thing with option 2 is that the examples you give, Baez and Zobrist, bring as much value with their bats as they do with the glove. Not so with Cozart. He’s a very valuable defender and should be able to play any infield position well. But, there’s really not much offensive contribution. So no real trade value to be gleaned, IMHO. There are plenty of glove-first sub players that can be had for less money than Cozart. But, if the Reds are at peace with that, I’m all in favor of making him the sub and getting Peraza more playing time.

      • 2016 stats:

        Player A: 450 PA, 94 wRC+ 2.7 WAR

        P!ayer B: 508 PA, 91 wRC+. 2.5 WAR

        Which one is Cozart and which is Baez?

        Baez has a higher ceiling as an offensive player for sure. But Cozart over the last 2 years has been right around a league average hitter.

        • Player A is Baez and this is a valid point. But you correctly point out that he has the higher ceiling. Coupled with the 7 year age difference and I think we see why Baez is likelier to be better going forward. Not that I would put much stock in Steamer projections but I would agree that 2017 will be a separator year for these two. Hence my thinking that he’s more valuable as hitter and thus a more valuable trade piece (aside from the contractual considerations).

        • Maybe I miscommunicated, but I am not saying he is as valuable a trade piece as Baez. If that is what we are arguing about, then you would win hands down.

          I was just saying that because super utility types may be becoming the cool new thing, Zack playing second and third may increase his trade value because a lot of teams could use that guy. Not many contenders need a starting shortstop.

        • Wow. Good run out on this one. Your point about versatility is huge I think. All teams know Cozart can play GG shortstop. If they see him for 40-50 games as utility man, he’s still a great def SS, not like he’ll forget how to do it.

          I like the idea. Wouldn’t even have to wait until July to trade him. Someone’s top 10 SS gets hurt, call Dick!

  6. BP is clogging up the Re-build. I agree, not so with Cozart.
    If you really want to grind BP’s “feelings” as a little retribution for blocking trades, give Cozart a 2 year extension. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to have a 3 headed monster for the 2 middle INF positions in Peraza, Cozart and Herrera. That is until Senzel arrives, which will send a shock wave through the INF of re-positioning. Give Herrera a little practice time in CF for some extra AB’s and also spell BHam in CF.
    Winker’s arrival will cause a big shift in the OF. Sometime in 2017.
    Senzel’s arrival will cause a major shift in the INF. Sometime in 2018.
    Okey’s arrival will shake up the C position. Sometime in 2019.
    Too bad these 3 arrivals aren’t more closely aligned.
    Keeping Cozart won’t necessarily be a bad thing and could be a positive.

      • I don’t think he has, but haven’t looked it up. Defense in general isn’t his calling card. From what I’ve read from people who are more knowledgeable about the situation is that there’s no way Herrera should be expected to play a passable CF.

        • This is what I’ve read as well. I’m not sure where the notion is coming from that Herrera can even play a passable CF?

        • Seen it posted twice by WVREDLEGS, but haven’t heard/seen it anywhere else.

  7. I agree with your assessment of Cozart’s value and market. Unfortunately it’s the same ol’ refrain, in that he should have been moved at the deadline. So many deals not made at the deadline have come back to haunt the Reds rebuild efforts. Especially when they reportedly had this deal essentially done and ran out of time ( how that happens when you have two GMs is unexplainable).

    As a fan, who’s endured two seasons of a rebuild already, I’m ready to move on. It will be extremely difficult to watch the Reds trot out Phillips and Cozart every day while Peraza and Herrera miss valuable playing and evaluation time. I’ve seen the super sub role from Peraza with Price managing last summer and he barely played and when he did a lot came in LF. I can’t sign up for that.

    Cozart does have value, but not enough to bring back much in prospect value for one year. Even at the deadline, before ending the year injured, the return from the M’s was Gohara, a potential relief arm. That type of return, while bringing some value, isn’t enough for me to stomach another couple of months of roster stagnation. Move him for what you can and be done with it.

    • I’ve seen the Peraza “barely played” last year narrative quite a bit in these parts, and I just don’t get it …

      If memory serves, he played rather regularly (vs. barely).

      • Here some numbers that back that up.

        From May 14-July 31st he was up with the Reds. Then he was down until August 20th, I assume this is about the time Cozart went down for the season. Once Cozart went down Peraza played a lot. Before that, sparingly, especially at SS.

        During the 2 1/2 months he was up as a utility piece Peraza started and completed 15 games. He played an additional 35.2 innings either starting and being substituted for defense, or PH, or coming in as a defensive replacement (from what I gathered from bbref game logs).

        Peraza logged 24.2 innings at SS plus 1 game he split between LF and SS (don’t have the exact innings at each position). Meanwhile he logged 55 innings in LF (plus the game he split between LF/SS).

        To me, only playing 15 complete games during that time is playing sparingly. The other innings combined account for less that 4 additional games. That’s certainly does not add up to playing 4-5 games a week. And when the innings in LF are double that of SS I think it’s poor usage as his bat is below average for a corner OF’er.

  8. Cozart is a good player and a good team player. But it makes no sense to keep Peraza on the bench. And it makes no sense to play Peraza in centerfield, where he is a liability.

    Solution? Peraza is the starting SS. He gets one or two days off a week with Cozart filling in until (and if) a trade occurs. Cozart is a bat off the bench and a sub (can he play 2B as well as SS? He played a few games at second long ago in the minors) who gets much more playing time only if there is an injury or if Peraza totally tanks.

    This solution is far from perfect but is preferable to benching Peraza or playing him out of position.

    • It doesn’t work that way in the clubhouse or the dugout. Unless Peraza is outplaying Cozart, the guy stays the starting SS. The players want to win and win now. You get a bunch of dysfunction when you bench one of your veteran starters who is performing well and you stick a new guy into his position. That doesn’t fly with your players and it causes all sorts of discord.

  9. And, if Cozart plays only four or so days a week, whether in a supersub role or strictly at short, this might lessen the wear and tear on his injured leg. Maybe he would maintain a little more of whatever trade value he has if he shows no sign of injury by the trade deadline.

    But having said that, I’d still like to see him gone before the start of the season and get on with the rebuild. Last year at the deadline would have been marvy. And trading Phillips two years ago would have been grand, too. But that didn’t happen, and now less than desirable decisions need to be made. But make them.

  10. I cannot see playing your best defensive shortstop at another defensive position. You potentially weaken two spots on the field. Still the key is getting rid of Phillips. He is the fly in the ointment. Yes it would be nice to get both Peraza and Herrera PT but at least Phillips has to go. To have both on roster on Opening Day is idiotic.

  11. Good points Jason. Reinforces my opinion that BP can’t be on this roster in 2017. If Cozart is likely to be here and has value then he has to play in some capacity. BP being on roster is also reducing Cozart trade value. If you have 3 players for two spots that works better to demand more in trade or have a backup for injuries. 4 for 2 spots only hurts. Sure the Reds know this. Just don’t know if they have the will to make the tough decision. Understand it is a long term business. Tough spot to be in. Hope they learn lesson for future.

  12. I think a reality check is in order here. When last seen on the field Cozart couldn’t hit, run, field or even throw well due to his knee injury which had morphed into additional complications involving his Achilles. He looked functionally older than Phillips actual chronological age. He finished the year on the 60 day DL. Also note that over a season’s worth of Cozart’s 5.084 years of service time has been spent on the DL. Given this, no team is going give anything of value for him until they’ve seen him on the field playing for a period of time.

    If there is a comparison to be made between Phillips and Cozart at this juncture, perhaps it should be that of BP’s 30 career bWAR, 21 of them came in his age 26 thru age 31 seasons; and, since then he hasn’t managed a 2 bWAR season despite not suffering a catastrophic injury like Cozart did.

    For his part Cozart has put up 11.6 MLB career bWAR thru his age 30, season, with his best season being 2.7 bWAR in his age 26 season. SS is a more physically demanding position than 2B. Given Cozart’s injury history, as he embarks on his age 31 season, it is probably reasonable to project that he will be unlikely to ever post a 2 bWAR season again.

    The person the Reds think may be a long term solution at SS, Peraza, is ready. Cozart is blocking him and needs to be out of the way even more than Phillips does at 2B to make way for Herrera. The return, if any, on Cozart should be of secondary or even no concern.

    • Herrera and Peraza should be the opening day infield. But who backs them up? Who is on the bench this year? 1 of the 5 bench spots will go to a catcher. One will probably go to Alcantara and one might go to Shaffer. But who else? Would the Reds be better off giving Zack away or releasing him and signing an Ivan DeJesus? I dont see how that makes them better now or in the future.

      The best option is to trade him for an actual prospect. The 2nd best would be to trade him for a comparable major leaguer who has an extra year or two of control. But if neither of those options are available, I think you have to try him in a utility role. It makes you better now and it leaves the possibility open to trade him for someone who makes you better in the future at the deadline.

      • We disagree on this. I think they are not likely to ever get the value out of Cozart it costs them to get to the point where they trade him because he is going to cost them around them around $830K a month ( That’s $3.3M paid out at the July) deadline Thus I would have already cut bait on him.

        As I read the CBA, the Reds are on the hook for 30 days pay to Cozart until there are 16 days or fewer to the start of the regular season. From T-16D to opening day, they are on the hook for 45 days pay. From opening day they, would be on the hook for his entire 2017 contract.

        I’d push him hard early in ST to see/ prove what he has to give; and, if I couldn’t move the contract prior to opening day, I’d release him to save the rest of the money. Irribarren or any number of guys of his type who might be available can fill the bill as the utility man for minimum salary.

        • There is a difference between not spending extra money to marginally improve a roster that won’t win anyway and deliberately making a roster bad to save money and get high draft picks. One is rebuilding. The other is tanking.

          Cutting Zack Cozart, who is making right around the league average, to replace with a AAA player like Irra- however the heck you spell his last name and is actually older than Zack, seems like tanking. Its something the Marlins would do.

          You seem like a good dude, but you have been wanting to non tender Zack since 2014. And you have been wrong about it. When he has been on the field the last 2 years, he has been pretty good. He should have been the Reds all star representative last year as he was their best player in the 1st half. Now maybe injuries have really robbed him of his lateral movement. If that’s the case, then it should be obvious in spring training and then we can talk about a non tender. But you have said this many times before about Cozart and he has bounced back and proven you wrong each time.

        • TCT: ZC has been a sort of designated poster child I’ve tried to use to show how I see the Reds unable to make difficult but necessary decisions. From 2013 to the present his annual bWAR have yoyoed the 2.0 line between sub and regular as he moved into arb and thru years costing increasingly more.

          Durability is a legitimate question and issue, especially looking forward; and it is difficult given ZC’s injury history to view his durability in a positive way. So, yes he’s been reasonably good the last two years for the half of the time he’s been on the field; but is it reasonable to think he is capable of that in the future given his leg situation?

          In the NL with no DH, I don’t think there are a lot of true bench players making $5M a year, particularly on rebuilding teams, which is what ZC would be and make as a Red this year according to the MLBTR.com projections which are generally pretty close to spot on. So, I don’t think it is tanking to replace a $5M sub with a guy who makes just over 1/10 as much. And, this is exactly why the Reds are trying to move ZC, to replace him with minimum salary guy versus carrying his salary on the bench..

      • I would see the INF back ups as Alcantara and Shaffer at this point in the offseason. Alcantara covers SS, 2B, and CF, Shaffer covers 3B, 1B, and maybe some corner OF. If they carry 3 catchers then I would say the biggest need would be another OF’er, as in an actual OF’er who can cover all 3 positions.

        From what I can tell, Cozart hasn’t played anywhere but SS since 2009, for 4 games in the AFL. He’s only played 11 games total at 2B in his minor league career. He’s gone 7 seasons without playing anywhere but SS. I don’t think Cozart is an ideal bench piece because he only plays one position. Could he learn and likely play passable defense at other positions in the INF? Yeah, probably as he’s got a good glove and instincts. But why try to figure that out and spend the money to do so when you know Alcantara does have that sort of positional flexibility and will be cheaper?

        • Also the bench guy is the guy who has to be ready to go on a moment’s notice regardless when somebody else can’t. With Cozart’s leg issue, I’m not sure he meets that part of the bench player profile. What if a stater tweaks something in pregame on a night when ZC’s leg also isn’t getting loose?

    • Cozart is only blocking him if Price starts him instead of Peraza. Depending upon his recovery, Zach may have significant value to the Reds as an infield sub and perhaps even as a bat off the bench, if his start last year wasn’t a result of sorcery.

    • Wow! Is Zack still in the wheel chair? Can we visit him in the retirement home? 🙂 Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a reality check to me, but rather a gross over dramatization. Cozart comes back from major knee surgery and starts the season wearing a brace. He goes on to post a season where among the 23 qualified ML SS he places 16th in RC+, 9th in Def, which resulted in his 13th place 2.5 WAR. Pretty amazing to put up a rock solid league average SS season on a knee that was most likely not 100% all season. It’s also not surprising at all, given the rigors of playing three quarters of 162 game season at the second most demanding position on the field, that his recently reconstructed leg would fall prey to fatigue as it did last September. Since there was no news of a surgical procedure on Cozart’s leg following the season, there is really no just cause for more than mild concern that his knee, once rested, and further rahabbed over the off season, will not be in better shape entering the 2017 season than it was the 2016 season. Hopefully he can again do for the Reds as he did last season and show up at Spring training healthy as expected and get off to hot start so they can move him once the opportunity presents itself.

      • The guy’s surgically rebuilt knee goes south on him just past 2/3 of the way through the season. In the process he ends up with tendinitis of the Achilles involving the same leg as the bad knee. It is clear he can’t run, hit, field or even throw correctly because of the condition of his leg for several weeks before they finally shut him down.

        Nobody will give the Reds any value for him because they don’t want the risk of whether they would be getting the player he was thru July or the player he became in August and early Sept when he was shut down and eventually put the 60 day DL under the new truth in reporting injuries edict handed down by MLB. Plus, even if he is playing like the 1st half guy, what assurance is there he won’t break down again come August?

        By the point where he builds any trade value, if indeed he does, the Reds will have sunk several million more bucks on him; and, he will be a short term rental. They will be extremely unlikely to get that much value back on him.

        Then there is also the opportunity cost that in the meantime he will have taken playing time away from the heir apparent at a key juncture in the rebuilding process because if Cozart doesn’t play consecutively for multiple days, there is no way to establish he he well enough and playing at a level to have any grade value.

        • The achilles issue was not with the same leg he had knee surgery on:

          From Rosecran on 8/21/16: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2016/08/21/notes-zack-cozart-out-but-feeling-good-quick-return/89074324/

          “Cozart’s left Achilles tendon has been acting up, but he’s confident that a couple of days off, and with rest and the right rehab, should clear the issue up.

          While his left leg is ailing, his right is feeling good. Last year Cozart had major surgery on his right knee, ending his season in June. The knee feels great now, he said.”

          Any diminished value with Cozart will have more to do the lesser amount of controllable time than at last years trade deadline, not currently due to health concerns. The mild concern with him ending the season with the sore repaired knee can easily be appeased with a normal spring performance. Sorry, but a sore surgically repaired knee at the end of long season at SS, should be an expectation, not a major red flag concern. And even less of a concern since it required no additional medical procedures to repair.

          I’m not all concerned about his health at this point and will expect a normal spring and a stronger knee for him next season. I’m also not the least concerned about the million or two he might cost them for a player who represents something like 3% of their total payroll if they keep him for the whole season. A good fielding, average hitting SS does have value, the Reds may have missed a shot to deal him last season, but I think will surprise some with the return if the right opportunity presents itself.

          • Even if you are correct which I think is open to legitimate debate (but this has gone long enough for the RLN format), the business question is whether it is worth $800K a month (based on the projected ~$5 annualized cost) to have him remain around to see if any opportunity arises? What is likely to be value of the return on a short term rental? How much (more) will the Reds have sank into him to get it?

            The business case is pretty clearly to dump him for whatever he will bring and get on with life.

  13. We don’t actually know what was offered for Cozart last year..if anything. The Mariners…
    Who have a vested interest in making it seem like they’re ” trying” ….leaked info about a trade that didn’t happen. My BS detector tells me they’re trying to show their fan base they’re committed but I doubt the Reds would’ve passed on any deal that was even remotely appealing.

    Keeping Cozart gives the Reds flexibility. If Addison Russel breaks his leg they could get something. If Perraza or Herrera don’t pan out you can keep him.

    • RE: Mariners: I think the Reds also acknowledged they were “close” but just couldn’t get things wrapped by the deadline. Of course that could be a case of mutual back cover.
      As I recall (allegedly) there was a late issue with the medicals on the Bruce return; and, who the Reds did or did not get there had a bearing on whether they wanted what the M’s were offering on Cozart. By the time this got settled there was no time left for the M’s deal.

    • This idea that the Mariners are just lying doesn’t make any sense to me. Zack Cozart is a solid, under rated player, but he is not a big name outside of Cincinnati. He is not the kind of guy to get any fanbase excited, much less fans of an AL west team who rarely see Zack play and many of them probably dont know much, if anything about him.

      So if the Mariners were just making up a story to try to appease the fan base, why in the world would they pick Zack Cozart of all people to lie about. Plenty of flashier names on the trade block last year if they were just gonna make up stories.

      Seems much more likely that Seattle was very interested in Cozart and made what they thought was a reasonable offer. Maybe not a great one, but a reasonable one that was not accepted by the Reds for some reason. Maybe they though that Zack would have a bigger market in the off season, which was not a crazy idea at that time with the season Zack was having and the fact that Seattle was really the only contender looking for a shortstop. Or maybe its like many people have speculated and the Reds were unable to multitask and just ran out of time.

  14. I think they should just completely bench BP and move Cozart to second and give Peraza SS. With this plan atleast Cozart is still playing and he could be a trade target and BP is out of the picture only when guys need days off. I mean this season isn’t really for winning and that gets BP out of the way and keeps Cozart a trade possibility.

  15. I think Cozart is a fine player and it would have been really nice to see how his 2015-2016 seasons played out if he stayed healthy. Fangraphs projects him to be about a 1.5 WAR player which puts him a very useful bench player/spot starter on a contending team. The Reds, and more importantly the fans, need to be realistic about what he is and adjust expectations accordingly. You aren’t getting a top prospect for him and he isn’t going to be a team MVP on the Reds. Realistically, they need to trade him for whatever middling prospect they can get and move on. Every game that begins with a DP combo of Cozart/BP instead of Peraza/Herrera is nothing more than a delay of whatever “rebuild” strategy the Reds may or may not have.

  16. Should have traded him last summer! Too bad the entire FO couldn’t handle two trades in the same morning. Ridiculous.

  17. Finding a SS if it isn’t Peraza.
    The Texas Rangers were reported to have been talking to the Reds, among others, about starting pitching again this week. I hope the Reds don’t miss the boat here with an opportunity. This could be an opportunity to obtain the SS of the now and future, and to re-consider the path of Michael Lorenzen and open a rotation spot for him.
    Would Texas take Dan Straily (4 years control) and Robert Stephenson (6 years control) for SS Jurickson Profar (5 years I think), whom they seem to have a hard time finding an open starting spot?? The Rangers have a need for one or two starters in the #3-#5 range after Hamels and Darvish. You never know how Cashner will pan out as a starter, and Perez and Griffin have high ERA’s, 4.39 ad 5.07, and higher peripherals.
    Lorenzen then takes Straily’s place in the rotation, and the # 5 spot is up for grabs between Reed, Garrett, Adelman, and a rumored possible free agent signing. However, if there is a FA signing, it might be better for it to be a bullpen arm to fill the hole created by moving Lorenzen instead. Somebody like Feliz, Blevins, or even Holland.
    Profar would be the SS and Peraza goes back to 2B, what the Reds had intended all along. The middle INF is settled for the foreseeable future, the corners are settled with Votto and Suarez/Senzel, with a lot still to be determined in the OF.
    Everything is negotiable, so it might take additions on both sides to get a deal done.
    Then the front office could blow up their IFA budget, bite the bullet and pay the MLB taxes, and sign that 19 year old Cuban OF Luis Robert, when he becomes a MLB free agent. They won’t get a chance like this for an IFA for a few years, if MLB grants him FA status before June 15.
    Bold moves, yes. Very bold. But steps that take the team in a positive direction and go toe-to-toe with the Cards and Cubs.

    • I’m not sure Texas takes that deal but of course they might and if not, it would at least be enough of an offer to open a dialog and give a starting point. However, it appears to be that the Reds are pretty insistent that Lorenzen will be in the pen. I don’t know the reasoning but there is something that is giving them pause about putting Lorenzen in the rotation. Could be injury concern. Could be they saw positive results from Lorenzen in pen and not so much from Lorenzen in rotation (nevermind that he has grown as a pitcher) and don’t want to move him from a role he’s succeeded in. Anyway, I won’t say zero chance for Lorenzen in rotation but I’d say very slim chance. Reds don’t seem to be seeing it as a good fit for whatever their reason is.

      Begs the question of rather or not the Rangers would ask for Lorenzen as part of a deal for Straily with Profar going the other way?

  18. Let’s be patient with Cozart. If one of the contending teams’ SS goes down, DW will be receiving calls. I believe there is a good chance this will happen either in Spring Training or the first part of the season. He would be a one year rental for somebody.

  19. Latest news for the Reds is that we are interested in Greg Holland. I believe this could be a good move for the right price considering the benefit of trading a healthy Greg Holland. Definitely another option to trade for prospects at deadline while probably improving the current team. Again, money is difference maker. Maybe since he wants 2 years with opt-out clause, give him back loaded contract and trade him before 2nd year?

    • I say no way to a two-year contract with a player opt-out for year two. The only way that helps the Reds is to have some bullpen innings eaten this year. It does nothing for the future, which is what the rebuild exercise is all about. Having some bullpen innings eaten this year would be fine at a rate like Storen’s, but not at the $10M Holland is supposedly asking. Wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cubs go for it, though.

  20. As the CBA pushes salaries up higher and higher we are going to see more cases of Zach Cozart And Brandon Phillips. Once a player enters their 30’s we will see decline (if we don’t they need to be drug tested).
    So team strategy will be to dump the 30 years old in favor of prospects. The cost of a 30 plus player at some point becomes a greater risk than starting a mediocre AAA farm prospect.
    During the steroid era the fire sale began at around 37/38 yrs of age. Now it is beginning at 32/33 yrs of age.
    This will lead to a surplus of 30 yr olds without a job and no team willing to sign them. I guess there is always Korea and Japan though?

  21. Here’s the link to the article by the Enquirer reporters last summer that “debunks” the claim that the Cozart deal with Seattle fell through at the last minute because the Reds were too busy fixing up the Bruce deal.

    If the two anonymous sources are people in the Reds front office, then it’s more accurate to say the claim was “denied” by the Reds, not that the claim was debunked.

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/redsblog/2016/08/05/bar-one-thing-failed-zack-cozart-trade/88283622/

    Here’s the link to the Seattle story describing the Mariners side of this with attributed quotes from the Seattle GM.

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/mlb/seattle-mariners/mariners-insider-blog/article93033812.html

    Decide for yourselves.

    • C. Trent seemed pretty adamant on Twitter that the M’s accounting wasn’t true.

      • I know. I think he used the word “debunked” which is where I got it. Still, if his sources are just (and maybe they aren’t) Reds front office guys saying that’s not the way it happened, it’s more accurate to say denied than debunked. Certainly possible the Mariners and Reds perceived the same set of facts differently.

  22. The Reds will quickly lost leverage as Cozart’s playing time for another team shrinks from a season to something closer to half. How much do we want to bet another team will become desperate against his definite drip-drop of lost value?

    The Reds need to be talking to other teams now and at all times in the future so they have a feel for the market. Any uptick in that market between now and the deadline warrant a serious discussion in the FO.

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