As it has been for the last two seasons, one of the main storylines of the 2017 Reds has been about what assets they might trade away at the trade deadline. Since the start of 2016, one of the players at the forefront of those discussions has been All-Star shortstop Zack Cozart, who was almost dealt at the 2016 deadline. While the low demand for shortstops among contenders has been a struggle for the Reds to find a trading partner, another issue might have just dried up the market altogether.
Back on June 19, Cozart went on the disabled list with a quad injury, something he had admittedly been dealing with for a while before he had to be shut down. While he returned from the DL on June 30 after only 12 days on the shelf, the Reds have taken extra precautions with him as he wasn’t 100-percent healthy when he returned. For the most part, those precautions have paid off, as he has put up a .333/.474/.767 line in his 9 games since the All-Star break going into Monday night.
When Cozart was inserted into the game last night as a pinch-hitter, he labored as he tried to leg out a double-play. By the time he reached third on Billy Hamilton’s double, he was removed from the game because he had re-aggravated the injury, something that Bryan Price admitted in the post-game presser. While the injury may not have many long-term implications on Cozart’s health, it definitely has an effect on his immediate future, as well as the Reds’.
A group of four muscles make up the quadriceps and provide much of the power that baseball players rely on every day. If you think of any action that a major league shortstop must perform at a given time on the field, the quad contributes to all of these actions and is the primary muscle group for many of them. The power that is required of the quad to perform these functions is what makes these injuries so tricky.
While a grade 1 (mild) strain of the quad can take as little as 10 days to 2 weeks to heal, getting back to it’s full function can be difficult without the proper rest and rehabilitation. When you’re in the middle of a baseball season, time often doesn’t allow for that proper rest - which is exactly why the Reds had to take precautions when he came back from the DL.
In any typical season, this setback would mean a couple of days of rest followed by a possible DL stint (probably longer than the 12-days he took back in June) before getting him back for the late-season stretch. Since it is July 25 and the Trade Deadline is less than a week away, the Reds don’t have the time to make that kind of decision. Instead, the Reds will have to sit for the next few days, cross their fingers, and hope that their second, and most valuable, trade chip hasn’t been taken off the block due to an injury.