The next few weeks of Zack Cozart’s life and baseball career could be very interesting.

He came off the disabled list today after dealing for more than a week with a quadriceps muscle injury. The quadriceps is the large muscle in the front of the leg between the pelvis and knee. I’m not a doctor, but I did suffer a pulled quadriceps muscle during my “major league debut” at the first Reds Dream Week fantasy camp for fans in Tampa in 1986.

As you often hear determined athletes say, “There was no way I was coming out of that game no matter how much it hurt.” (I was determined, but in no way an athlete.) What I can tell you is it is very difficult to run or pivot on a major league baseball field (or anywhere else, for that matter) with a pulled quadriceps. But, Cozart is in the lineup tonight against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park.

Of high interest the last several weeks is Joey Votto’s promise to gift a donkey to Cozart if he makes the all-star team, which we will learn Sunday:

Of more importance from the perspective of the Reds future is just how sore Cozart’s quadriceps remains. Two contending teams – the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks – have had their shortstops felled with serious injuries which will keep them out for several weeks. This was the scenario the Reds front office was waiting for, as a way to harvest as much value as possible for Cozart via trade instead of allowing him to leave via free agency with no compensation. More on this scenario in this piece today by our Doug Gray.

Hopefully Cozart can resume his high-caliber play immediately. If not, that plan could be squelched. Even though he has had an all-star caliber first half of the season, his injury history will certainly deter interested teams if he doesn’t come back in a healthy, robust fashion.

Cozart has told the Reds front office he wants to stay, and would like to talk about a long-term contract. However, Dick Williams is unlikely to invest big dollars in a post-30-year-old infielder who has had only one exceptional year offensively. Cozart’s one opportunity for a humongous contract will almost certainly come from another franchise.

UPDATE, 6:44 p.m. ET: Dick Williams tells the Enquirer there is interest in exploring a contract with Cozart.

So in the coming weeks, Cozart may have to move to a new city and figure out what to do with his new pet donkey at the same time.

Starting Pitchers

Mike Montgomery 57.2 2.50 4.24 19.0% 11.8%
Scott Feldman 90.2 4.07 4.18 19.2% 7.9%

Mike Montgomery is a lefty whose peripheral stats are masked by a nifty 2.50 ERA. His xFiP and walk percentage are both higher than those of Feldman, the “stopper” of the 2017 Reds starting pitching corps if there is such a thing. Feldman gives the Reds a better chance to win consistently than any other starter, so he is a nice way to start off a series against the defending world champs.


Kevin Shackelford and Ariel Hernandez “ate” the middle innings last night following Homer Bailey’s early exit. Shackelford went back to Louisville today to make room for Cozart on the roster, so the only unavailable bullpen pitcher is probably Hernandez. It’s hard to say who will get the call if Feldman is pulled early. It might be Austin Brice, who is back after Brandon Finnegan went back on the disabled list.

Starting Lineups

Cubs Reds
RF Jon Jay CF Billy Hamilton
2B Ian Happ SS Zack Cozart
1B Anthony Rizzo 1B Joey Votto
LF Willson Contreras LF Adam Duvall
SS Addison Russell 3B Eugenio Suarez
C Victor Caratini RF Scott Schebler
3B Javier Baez 2B Jose Peraza
CF Albert Almora Jr. C Tucker Barnhart
P Mike Montgomery P Scott Feldman

The Cubs lineup is interesting – no Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist or Jason Hayward, all out due to injury. If you’re going to do some damage to the Cubs, this is the time, it seems. Scooter Gennett is not starting for the Reds, but with Montgomery being a lefthander, that’s understandable. The primary reason the Brewers let Gennett go in the spring is his very poor numbers batting vs. lefties.

News and Notes

What do you think of this discussion on MLB Radio earlier today? Maybe include Cozart in a larger package?

More on Robles, the Nationals’ top prospect, here.

55 Responses

  1. Sliotar


    Nice write-up.

    Hopefully, Dick Williams is working the phones aggressively, gauging interest. Perhaps even Colorado could be coaxed into the Future Donkey Owner Sweepstakes. Trevor Story just cannot get on track. Cozart is having a better year than him, both offensively and defensively.

    What if….the Reds tested Cozart’s desire to stay in Cincinnati, and offered a 3-year contract, front-ended, such as:

    2018- $16M
    2019- $13M

    The numbers may be too low, but I keep asking myself…who is paying Cozart $17M or more to play SS in 2018?

    He could be a bridge until the contention window starts in 2019 or 2020.

    Not endorsing this, just find it interesting. I think he would give a large hometown discount for 3 years of security in Cincy.

      • Old-school

        Easy for reds to go to Cozart agent and say there is no trade market for you….except in Cincinnati…let’s work out a deal. I can’t see how reds choose Peraza over Gennett ….Hamilton over all star Winker….arroyo over Castillo…Bonilla over Mahle…wojo over Reed…

        Major credibility issue in redsland.

      • Chuck Schick

        Agents talk to GM’s and media people all day. Unless he’s utterly incompetent, Cozart’s agent understands the universe of possible trades and who will be/ won’t be interested at the end of the year.

        If he believes the market for Cozart is tepid, he’ll try to cut a deal with the Reds.

  2. Sliotar

    I mean the above comment in the context of, “if the Reds don’t get an offer that impresses them.”

    If they are blown away by another team’s offer, the Reds should chauffer Cozart and the donkey to the new city.

  3. Jack

    Washington won’t take Cozart. They have the division sewn up and they have Drew to cover short until the kid comes back. They would be more interested in bullpen help though. Feldman the stopper? Who would have thought that when the Reds signed him.

    • vegastypo

      In today’s world, every team has to have an “ace” or a “stopper.” I don’t think the Reds have either one.

      Price was saying on his pregame show that wasn’t sure what percent of health Cozart would be for tonight, and that obviously he’s going to need more days off. Keep him off the DL and trade him.

  4. GreatRedLegsFan

    IF would look very crowded from 2018 and beyond: Peraza, Herrera, Cozart, Suarez, Sensel, Gennett, Alcantara; 7 players for 5 spots. Assuming that Cozart is extended (SS), Sensel is promoted (3B), Peraza turns the corner (2B) and Gennett takes one of the bench spots, it’d let Herrera, Suarez and Alcantara for the remaining bench spot. Alcantara maybe released after this season, Herrera maybe kept one more season in AAA but about Suarez future is hard to tell, unless Cozart is traded and then takes over SS again.

  5. Sliotar

    Reds-killer Rizzo put down (for at least 1 at-bat).

    Sometime later this season, we need to have a list during a game thread of the Reds killers since like 2000. Position doesn’t matter. Not trying to field a team. Just compile the list.

    Rizzo and Braun are well qualified to be on it.

      • Indy Red Man

        Billy Hall. Addison Russell. Lance Berkman of course. Too many unfortunately

    • msanmoore

      If I recall Khrash Bryant of the Brewers hit us well. It’s a rather long list.

  6. james garrett

    Billy has struck out 1 less time then Duvall.That is not good at all.

  7. james garrett

    Their pitcher will walk some but after an 11 pitch inning I doubt we take enough to take advantage of it.

  8. james garrett

    I am done after that 10 pitch inning.Every game its the same plan.Swing swing swing.

    • Indy Red Man

      lol….just a guess but I would say their walks are up? Cozart is walking 3-4x more then he ever has. Suarez is walking a ton. Votto is Votto. Schebler/Duvall are prob better then last year. Walking someone is like having a baby….takes 2 to tango and other teams pitchers aren’t nearly as bad as ours.

  9. Indy Red Man

    Storm in Indy….signal just came on. 3rd inning and we haven’t given up a field goal or TD yet so it must be Feldman.

  10. vegastypo

    More running the bases with reckless abandon. And more paying the price. Stupid.

  11. renbutler

    Hey, Almora picked up the ball and pumped to second base, but Hamilton was already on his way to third.

  12. Sliotar


    Hamilton acted like a guy pressing, trying to do too much.

  13. vegastypo

    “Bryan Price having a very animated conversation with Billy Hamilton,” according to Marty.

    • Jack

      He should. No outs and he is trying for 3rd. He csn score from 2nd on a single . Why stretch it.

  14. Indy Red Man

    Bang….my boy Duvall is EL FUEGO again!!!!

    • Old-school

      Adam duvall is a borderline all star 2 years in a row. The guy plays well and does his job. It’s time to move on from the Adam Duvall is he core player conversation…. It’s very simple.

      The reds need 5 starters and Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza are 2 of the worst players in the NL. Fix those 7 issues and the reds are playing in October.

      Embarrassing that this organization benches scooter Gennett and plays Bronson Arroyo and Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza and Bonilla and wojo

      • Indy Red Man

        Its time for Peraza to work out his issues in Lville. Bring up Dixon to platoon w/Scooter vs lefties. Alcantara could backup Cozart. What are they going to do with Peraza vs righties anyway? Price would have to be creative to find him starts and if he had that capability then it should be with Winker and not Peraza?

  15. Jazzmanbbfan

    Duvall goes opposite field. Sweet.

  16. renbutler

    Suarez sure looked frustrated there. It was a borderline pitch, but not so bad to argue about.

    His .210/.323/.352/.675 line in his past 48 games might be taking its toll.

  17. Indy Red Man

    Tucker is terrible vs lefties. If Price had a clue then he’d schedule Mesoraco vs lefties. Common sense stuff w/Price….its not rocket science?

    • mariners77

      Barnhart came into tonight hitting .192 against lefties, but Mes is even worse at .189

  18. Sliotar

    Scott “Captain Shutdown” Feldman at it again.

    I liked the little finishing flourish he showed on the strikeout pitch for the second out.

    • renbutler

      Too bad he just missed his first hit (nearly a double) — but at least he isn’t out there running the bases, with a three-run lead and a no-hitter through five.

      I’d rather see him continue to own the Cubs’ hitters and not wear himself out running.

  19. Sliotar

    Never has Peraza been so happy to have an error scored against him.

  20. Indy Red Man

    Peraza? He needs to go back to AAA and regroup. He may be taking his weak hitting to the field? He’d had a couple of line drives bounce off his glove…..just needs some work in the minors again and earn his way back!

  21. Sliotar

    Feldman at 90 pitches. Deserves to go out ahead. Hopefully, the last inning for him.

    • Sliotar

      For real. MLBer or not. Peraza would have wanted to climb in a hole if that had made it out.

      • vegastypo

        I suspect a few people might have been willing to push him into said hole if the opportunity arose. He’s too young to give up on, but these are brutal growing pains.

      • Indy Red Man

        2 lucky hits/rbi tonite for Jose….maybe that will help? A bad hop single and a squeeze where he was out if they wanted the play at 1st.

  22. Indy Red Man

    Is Bryant going on the DL or day-to-day? Anyone know? This team is beatable! No Bryant, Schwarber, Zobrist, Heyward, or Montero.

    • Sliotar

      I am checking my teams on Ottoneu, a pretty serious fantasy league.

      They are good with updates, and it says Bryant is day-to-day, was held out by Maddon tonight, could be in lineup tomorrow.

      • Indy Red Man

        Thats what I was afraid of….thanks! Stephens and Adleman….split is prob the best we can get but it would be sweet to sweep with those all those Cub fans there!

  23. seat101

    Set my off-topic:

    Which is more boring? Listening to someone talk about their dreams or listening to someone talk about their fantasy baseball team?

    • seat101

      I ask because in the last hour a family member called up to tell me about some dreams and A friend called to tell me that Adam Duval is on his fantasy baseball team.

      Neither one was interested in my new sleep apnea machine I can tell you that

    • Sliotar

      Fantasy baseball. Hands down. And I have 3 teams.

      Fortunately, the really hard-core Ottoneu players post messages on the project site Slack as an outlet. I am certain that their loved ones appreciate the site’s existence.

  24. Sliotar

    Rizzo with the 0 for 4 in GABP.

    (Halley’s Comet just went by).

  25. bouwills

    What do you think Feldman may be worth at the trading deadline now? He’s 7-5 with a sub 4.0 ERA. .Only a couple teams need a Zack Cozart, but a bunch of teams could use a Scott Feldman.