Ever since Zack Cozart left Tuesday’s game against the Yankees early after re-aggravating his right quad, Reds fans have been left to wonder about the severity of the injury and how it might affect the team’s deadline plans. It seems that the Reds got an answer to both questions, as they placed the 31-year old shortstop on the 10-day disabled list for the second time this season.
Reds put Zack Cozart on the DL, call up Kevin Shackleford— Zach Buchanan (@ZachENQ) July 29, 2017
If Tuesday’s events didn’t place serious doubt on the Reds’ ability to move him by Monday’s deadline, today’s news all-but confirms that Cozart will be wearing red the rest of the season. Even if the Reds were somehow to convince a team to take on the injured shortstop, his trade value will have greatly diminished with today’s revelations.
While Cozart had seemed to be getting better on Friday, progressing to some light running on the field, it was already doubtful that he would see the field before Monday afternoon. Combine that with the fact that the Reds’ starters had lasted a combined 8 innings over the last 2 games and they probably needed some bullpen help, this move ultimately made sense for the Reds.
Today’s news now represents a shift in mindset for both Cozart and the Reds. For Cozart, he no longer has the option of playing for a contending team in 2017. He now has to shift his focus to the off-season, where he tests the free agent waters for the first time. This means that he will hope to have a quick healing process and show that he can continue to play at a high level without any setbacks so his value won’t diminish. For the Reds, they will have much bigger decisions to make. With Dilson Herrera’s balky shoulder and Jose Peraza’s struggles this season, the Reds could possibly be left with a hole in the middle infield if Cozart ends up signing elsewhere. Do the Reds risk giving Cozart a qualifying offer in hopes that he rejects it and gives the Reds some sort of compensation for his departure? Do they offer him a contract and hope that he stays and puts up these numbers for a couple more seasons? Or do they let him walk, receiving nothing in return and putting their hopes in some unproven players? Regardless of what happens in the future, the timing of this couldn’t be worse. And now, the Reds’ off-season just became a lot more interesting.