Zack Cozart’s future has been the focus of much speculation as the final year of his Reds contract concludes this month. Some fans are in favor of keeping him on, thanks in part to his amazing offense this year and consistently brilliant defense. Others say that an oft-injured shortstop on the wrong side of age 30 is not a player to whom management should offer a multi-year extension.
General Manager Dick Williams said at the All-Star break that the team may explore a contract extension with Cozart. But this interesting note appeared in a story on Reds.com by John Fay:
The Reds talked about the possibility of extending Cozart, but he said there have been no talks, so he’s preparing to become a free agent.
Early to mid-September would not seem to be the time one would start negotiations with a player you hope to retain before he enters free agency. So if the Reds are to retain Cozart, it will likely be due to them extending a one-year qualifying offer (estimated to be around $18 million). If the offer is turned down, the Reds would stand to receive draft-pick compensation. Another possibility is that Cozart could enter free agency and not receive an offer he likes. In that case, his agent may turn back to the Reds – his expressed preference — to see what might be worked out. But as Fay writes:
… at Cozart’s age, he sees the advantage of long-term deal.
… which is not likely to come from Cincinnati. So the chances of a return to the Reds for Cozart and his donkey seem to be fading. Enjoy the time you will get to watch him in a Reds uniform in September, which begins with the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park against the Pirates tonight.
Bryan Price has said he views Castillo as a member of the 2018 rotation, based on his 2017 performance, which has been eye-popping at times. In recent starts, his strikeout percentage is trending upward and his walk percentage is trending downward. He pitched 131.2 innings last year in the Marlins system, and so far this year has pitched 157.2 for Pensacola and Cincinnati. There has been speculation that there is an innings limit for this year on Castillo, and that he may make only another start or two before he reaches it. So enjoy tonight.
Cole was the first overall pick in the 2011 draft by Pittsburgh, and has recorded a 58-38 won-loss record and a 3.40 ERA (3.46 xFIP) in 121 starts over portions of five big league seasons. If we could project Hunter Greene ahead to that sort of performance over the same early portion of his major league career, all Reds fans would be thrilled.
After two innings in relief Thursday against the Mets, Michael Lorenzen is the only bullpenner likely to be held back or have any limitations. Ariel Hernandez is back in the bullpen after being recalled from Louisville today. (More below.)
The Pirates were off Thursday, so they have no likely bullpen limitations. Juan Nicasio, Clint Hurdle’s eighth-inning setup guy, was placed on irrevocable waivers and claimed by the Phillies in what has to be characterized as a salary dump. Nicasio will be a free agent, and the Bucs apparently felt no need to pay him any longer this year.
|CF Billy Hamilton||2B Josh Harrison|
|SS Zack Cozart||LF Starling Marte|
|1B Joey Votto||CF Andrew McCutchen|
|LF Adam Duvall||1B Josh Bell|
|2B Scooter Gennett||3B David Freese|
|3B Eugenio Suarez||RF John Jaso|
|RF Scott Schebler||SS Jordy Mercer|
|C Stuart Turner||C Chris Stewart|
|P Luis Castillo||P Gerrit Cole|
News and Notes
September 1 is the date major league rosters can be expanded to as many as 40 players, and that process began today …
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 1, 2017
Who would you rather have now and for the next few years? Votto or Judge?
37 HR, 1.013 OPS, 168 Strikeouts
— Talking Reds (@RedsAnalysis) August 25, 2017
3 catchers, 3 babies …
☑️ Baby Mes
☑️ Baby Turner
☑️ Baby Barnhart
The catchers’ babies triumvirate is complete!
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 1, 2017
Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.