Zack Cozart will finish the 2017 season as a member of the Cincinnati Reds after all. The All Star shortstop has been marketed, shopped, and nearly traded for over a calendar year, yet with just a day remaining before he could be moved to a contender and be eligible for a playoff roster, FanRag’s Jon Heyman has reported a scenario that makes that impossible.
Cozart, like most players, was placed on revocable waivers after the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline came and went without him being moved, and it appears that some team out there placed a claim on he and his contract. What happens in that scenario is in the hands of the Cincinnati front office, who can simply let the claiming team have Cozart and the remainder of his contract, negotiate a trade exclusively with that team, or pull Cozart back off waivers altogether. It appears the Reds opted to take the last of those three options this time, and since teams are only able to place players in this situation and pull them back once, Cozart’s chances of being moved are now nil.
Of course, he’s set to be a free agent at the end of the season, which means the Reds have now officially missed trading him for anything of value.
Why they chose to pull him back remains to be seen, or heard, though we may not ever get that information. Considering how little leverage the Reds had in this case, perhaps they just didn’t seem to think the claiming team’s offer was worth letting Cozart go. Had they let the claiming team merely take on Cozart’s salary, it would’ve amounted to something slightly less than a million bucks, and maybe the Reds simply viewed Coach’s leadership over the season’s final month more than that. Perhaps, who knows, they didn’t want his legacy with the team to end like this, either.
There’s also a way to read into this that says “hey, maybe the Reds are going to extend him a Qualifying Offer after this season.” That’s been largely debunked by hints from the front office, though I suppose there’s still a sliver of a chance of that happening. Perhaps, though, the idea of extending him has enough legs to warrant keeping him now to facilitate that process, and the dollar amount of letting him go wasn’t substantial enough to warrant the Reds letting him reach the open market to negotiate with other teams alongside their pitch in free agency.
Regardless, thus ends the idea that they’ll cash in on a guy having a career year and land a can’t-miss prospect in return. The market for shortstops simply didn’t develop enough for that to happen. On the plus side, though, your chances to watch Cozart don the Cincinnati uniform haven’t yet expired, so enjoy the opportunity to watch him wrap up a stellar, stellar season with the Reds.