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Reds, Zack Cozart avoid arbitration with 1 year, $2.35 million contract

Shorty got paid!

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart has established himself as one of the very elite defensive infielders in all of baseball over the last three plus seasons, and after today he'll start to get the biggest paychecks of his life, according to CBS's Jon Heyman.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>zack cozart, reds settle at $2.35M for 2015</p>&mdash; Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) <a href="">January 16, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Cozart is in his first season of arbitration eligibility, meaning 2015 is the first year he'll be making more than just a fractional increase over the league's minimum salary.  Despite his woeful offensive 2014, Cozart still managed to post a 2.4 bWAR season, good enough for the second best year of his career, and he'll look to find his power stroke again in 2015 to help turn around the Reds' awful offensive performance from 2014.

The Reds' agreement to avoid arbitration with Cozart is just their first such order of business this offseason, but Walt Jocketty and Co. still have much work to do in that arena.  Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Mike Leake, and Aroldis Chapman are all also arb-eligible this off-season (say that five times fast), and each is slated to make significantly more in 2015 than Cozart.

Cozart will turn 30 in August, which seems unfathomable since it feels like he just took over recently, but I suppose time flies when you're blogging fun.  Congrats on your first big payday, Zack, and here's to whacking 10+ dingers again in 2015.