2017 Reds

New York Yankees having internal discussions about Zack Cozart

New York Yankees shortstop (and former Cincinnati Red) Didi Gregorius is out for 6-8 weeks with a shoulder strain. In the wake of that injury, the Yanks are trying to decide whether to pursue an option outside the organization to pick up the slack until Gregorius returns.

Enter Zack Cozart, according to this report:

While the Yankees have been weighing internal options to replace injured shortstop Didi Gregorius, they have also given consideration to external possibilities.

The Tigers’ Jose Iglesias, the Reds’ Zack Cozart and the Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed each have been floated as potential targets, a source with knowledge of the team’s personnel discussions told NJ Advance Media.

In some ways, Cozart makes sense if New York decides to look for outside options to fill the shortstop hole. The Yankees’ top prospect is a young man named Gleyber Torres who just so happens to play shortstop, but he’s not ready for the big leagues yet. (Torres, you may remember, was acquired by New York from the Chicago Cubs in last year’s Aroldis Chapman trade.). Cozart could be seen as a good short-term solution, perhaps moreso than any of the other potential candidates mentioned above.

Certainly, Cozart is a better player than any of the Yankee’s in-house shortstops. There’s a pretty good argument to be made that he’s better than Iglesias or Ahmed, too.

There’s a complication, however. As it turns out, the Reds need a shortstop too. Here’s what Wick Terrell said over at Red Reporter about this:

The Cincinnati Reds entered the winter with a logjam in their middle infield, what with Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera making up the future-is-now duo while Cozart and Brandon Phillips stood entrenched in their way. With the overall shorstop market in complete stasis and Phillips rejecting all trades, just a few months ago we all grew frustrated by the team’s inability to move players and turn the page.

Then the Reds managed to dump Phillips to the Atlanta Braves for essentially nothing, and since that time we’ve barely seen Dilson Herrera, as a shoulder injury has kept him from playing the field at all during Cactus League play. In other words, just as an injury finally opened up the market for Cozart to be tradeable again, the Reds now find themselves in a bit of a pickle, since trading him would leave perhaps too large of a hole in the team’s middle infield for even a team at this stage of rebuilding. Would Arismendy Alcantara get the nod as the everyday shortstop? Would Peraza move back to short after finally settling in at 2B? Would the team really turn things over to Zach Vincej despite him not having played at all in AAA? Would they move Suarez back to SS full-time and turn things over at 3B to, I don’t know, Hernan Iribarren?

Go read the rest of Terrell’s piece.

I dunno, it’s probably much ado about nothing. There are no reports that the Yankees have actually made any offers, or that any discussions have been had with Reds management. But it’s worth keeping an eye on.

32 thoughts on “New York Yankees having internal discussions about Zack Cozart

  1. Move Suarez back to the middle infield – where he belongs. Peraza plays whichever spot isn’t occupied by Suarez. Duvall back to 3B – his natural position.

    That leaves a spot open in LF, where the Reds have half a dozen viable options.

    • Duvall was a butcher at 3B, there is a reason he got moved off and it wasn’t to make room for his bat.

      If the Reds are serious about Peraza as a long term SS, or for at least the next few years, then trading Cozart means putting Peraza at SS. In the short term use whatever stop gap you need to until Herrera’s shoulder is ok, and then plug him in at 2B every day.

    • Suarez wasn’t much of a shortstop, either. Maybe, in view of his improvement at 3rd, he’d be better now, but who knows? Duvall was excellent in left. What you suggest could easily weaken the defense substantially.

      • Strong overall defense is merely a luxury for a rebuilding team.

        Getting playing time for everyone is a necessity.

        • What about the effect on young pitchers of bad defense? Young pitchers figure prominently in the Reds’ current and future considerations. I definitely agree about playing time, and also think that, just because Duvall and/or Suarez played poor defense at one time, it still makes sense to try them at those positions again. They have both shown that they’re capable of learning.

  2. I heard the same report at lunch on MLB Network radio. Cozart does make some sense for the Yankees. Only 1 year left. Iglesias has 3 and Ahmed 4, maybe 5. Not what NY needs with Torres in the wings. Plus the Yankees have Mateo at SS at or near the same level as Torres.
    I’d love to get Mateo back in return for Cozart, but that might be asking too much. Maybe OF Billy McKinney and hope for a rebound season from him. Yankees always need pitching, so maybe the Reds can deal from a strength and put together a nice 2-for-1 package for a nice prospect in the Yankees now very deep farm system.
    Definitely worth watching.

    • I had mentioned this on another tread yesterday. Cozart would be an appropriate stop gap measure if the Yanks didn’t want to dip into their system to find a replacement SS. And there’s at least a plausible reason to believe they aren’t going to rush any prospects up just to fill what should be a temporary hole.

      But, the question is, what kind of return could the Reds expect? I’m with others in that Cozart shouldn’t be “given away” because other opportunities to trade are bound to come up and probably not too far down the road.

      I’m not as worried about others that the Reds would have a personnel problem now if Cozart is traded. IMO, they aren’t contending this year and the team can play the young guys with Alcantara filling either SS or 2B if they don’t want to shift guys around too much.

    • I read that Mateo had some kind of a flare up with some Yankees officials this winter. It did not elaborate. So maybe Mateo and his 80/speed might not be the best one to go after. Also read that his glove and defense are not as good as I had thought. Said CF may be the best place to play Mateo.

      • It will take more than Cozart’s one season under contract to get Mateo.

  3. The Reds shouldn’t give Cozart away. There will be other openings at SS. This is especially true if Dilson Herrera isn’t ready. I’m not saying don’t trade him. Just make sure it’s a good return.

    • Agreed, you don’t just dump him like we did with Phillips. A guy in their system I like that I’d target would be Chance Adams. Adams and a high upside kid in the low minors (Estevan Florial, Wilkerman Garcia, etc…) would be a tremendous return for Cozart. Or maybe someone with a higher floor as a second piece like Nick Solak, whom I liked coming out of Louisville last year as a second piece.

      • Phillips had age, a heavy contract and the 5-10 year rule working against getting much value back. Zach is 5 years younger than Brandon and has a much smaller contract.
        Zach is personally a great guy (as was Brandon), but the concern is the team and moving forward. If Zach is not the starting shortstop for the next playoff level team, then he should be traded.

        • I struggle with a statement of what should happen without a clue what was being offered in return! I mean should the Reds make another idiotic trade like they did with BP? I know BP needed to go but to essentially pay him to play for someone else and get a career (about 2 more years) AA player in exchange! I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around the idea of paying 14 million dollars to buy Peraza playing time in our organization! I really can’t get behind trading Cozart just for the sake of trading him!

  4. Peraza is the SS on the next Reds playoff team, isn’t he??? I don’t want to give away Cozart, but Jose needs the bulk of the playing time.

    With the pitching in shambles due to injuries, the odds of the Reds coming out of the gate hot and prospect reinforcements on their way leading to a wild card chase are very slim. In that narrative, keeping Cozy made a ton of sense, but now you could argue it’s hurting the long term outlook because keeping him keeps us further away from a high draft pick.

    • Tyler Wade of Miguel Andujar straight up for Cozart would be great or Mahle + Cozart for Mateo.

  5. If you find a willing partner, and get offered an acceptable return, you trade him now. Don’t wait on the market to turn, or another injury to happen. Too many a slip between a cup and lip, as the old saying goes.

    I think Alcantara, Renda, or Irribarren could cover 2B until Herrera can play in the field.

  6. It’s hard to say we move Duvall over to 3rd after he almost won a gold glove in left last year. Suarez on the other hand might have to move anyway when Senzel is ready so it’s hard to say what the best course of action is. Moving Duvall could open the door for Winker though. Glad I don’t make the decisions and can just stand back and complain about whatever they end up deciding to do.

  7. The Reds look to be in a situation where they have to weigh whether moving Cozart and getting on with the future or holding on for the absolute maximum possible return for him is most important.

    Cozart has looked good when he has played. However, we’ve not seen him extended in terms of playing full games in multiple consecutive day appearances. If he can play entire games day after day his value will climb. If he can’t, his value will drop.

    My inclination would be to try and drive a hard fair bargain but ultimately off load the remaining risk and get on with the future sooner rather than later.

    • Suarez and defense are 2 words that don’t belong in the same paragraph but I have felt even at SS it was a lack of confidence! He has the arm to play on the left side but he has looked scared to death even on routine plays and finally at the end of last year he finally looked confident in the field IMO! I would hope the Reds allow him to continue to get comfortable at 3rd! I may be wrong but he looked physically capable to play either spot just very very uncomfortable until late last season!

  8. So the Yankees make a decent offer and you move him … won’t be for somebody we’ll put on the MLB roster, but let’s assume we get fair value …

    Peraza to SS where we all seem to think he belongs anyway. No real problem there.

    The question really is do we keep Suarez at 3B or flip him over to 2B? I know he’s improved at the hot corner, but we can’t block Senzel for long and we do seem to have a solid hitter and player in Ey-U-Hey-Nee-O. My gut inclination is to move him to 2B and make sure we get him and Peraza to sync up (telepathically if possible).

    Duval won’t do for 3B … it will be at best the 2nd coming of Edwin Scissor Hands and at worst, something we don’t want to talk about. However, it would seem we’ve viewed at least a couple of possible options this spring, so I’m thinking we could figure it out.

    Pitching issues tend to tell me we’re a year further on the rebuild than we’d hoped. That’s just the breaks.

    Then again, I’m sitting in my home office after working today rather than getting paid by the Reds organization for my input.

  9. I can’t imagine anything on their end injury wise holding the Reds back from making a trade of Cozart. They are not expected to be highly competitive and there are multiple options to fill the gap until Herrara is healthy.

  10. I feel like us still needing Cozart due to the Herrera injury is almost a good thing. It gives us more leverage and bargaining power. When a team knows you have to move a guy and they’re the only one who needs him, it gives them all the leverage. When it’s clear you can just as easily say “No thanks, we still need a shortstop and would rather keep ours than accept a poor return,” it puts a little bit of the bargaining power back on your side.

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