The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline came and went, and Zack Cozart remained with the Cincinnati Reds. With just eight days remaining before the deadline for players to be traded through the waiver process (and still be eligible to be on postseason rosters), it’s looking increasingly likely that there will be no trade of their All Star, free-agent-to-be shortstop.
That means there are now only two ways the Reds can “get” anything out of Cozart going forward: either re-sign him, or extend him a Qualifying Offer and hope he declines it. The second option was explored in depth by Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors earlier this morning in a wide-reaching look into which players might see QOs sent their way after the season, with Cozart’s name the headliner of the Borderline Cases contingent. The latest Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the MLBPA significantly altered the QO structure from how it had been for the previous five years, so it’s worth emphasizing that the rewards reaped by a team who extends a QO and has it declined are significantly weakened. In other words, there’s a lot less reward from the team perspective than there once was while there’s still every bit the risk of having a QO accepted, which makes the idea of giving one to Cozart that much more precarious.
For the same reason there’s been no trade market for Cozart in a career year on a relatively bargain contract, it’s hard to envision a big-market, luxury-tax team guaranteeing him over $50 million in free agency after the season. That’s the only scenario in which the Reds would end up with essentially a comp pick at the end of the 1st round of next year’s draft, and it’s one so specifically necessary that the risk of him accepting the roughly $18 million, 1-year QO becomes too large, in my opinion. Even the 3rd-ish round pick they’d gain if Cozart merely signed for less than $50 million with any other team doesn’t seem to make the idea worthwhile, either.
In other words, the Reds just might have to let a 5 WAR team stalwart walk with nothing but memories to show for it.
Moving on, it seems the shoulder “irritation” that knocked Homer Bailey out of his start on Tuesday after just 3 IP isn’t too serious, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. That’s a major relief for now, though who knows how it will impact Bailey’s spot in the shredded rotation in the near term.
Speaking of that shredded rotation, the second opinion on Anthony DeSclafani’s elbow revealed it, in fact, is NOT shredded, as The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan relayed. The question now becomes whether he can progress on his throwing program quickly enough to return to the mound in a Reds uniform in 2017, since the big league and minor league seasons are quickly running out of games. Whether or not that happens, at least it seems that Disco may at least be able to enter the offseason fully healthy, which means he’ll be able to prep for 2018 as a healthy pitcher instead of a rehabbing one. Of course, that’s how he’s entered each of the last two offseasons, both of which resulted in injuries before those subsequent seasons started anyway.
Finally, Ken Rosenthal - Bowtie McFunnypants himself - is taking a new gig with The Athletic, he announced on Twitter, which means we’ll finally be able to see his writing again. The man’s one of the absolute key cogs in the baseball information universe, and after FOX asininely went to full-video, he’d lost a platform on which to relay things with the written word. Now, he’s got that back, and while he’ll still be on TV, this now provides us all with a chance to do something incredibly novel: read about baseball again. This makes me happy.