Reds Trade Rumors: Do You Keep Zack Cozart or Didi Gregorius?


Or both.

As is now public knowledge, the Reds might be shopping one of its shortstops. Reds GM Walt Jocketty told FOX Sports Jon Paul Morosi that the Good Guys could look to deal either Zack Cozart or Didi Gregorius in order to solidify another position. Might be closer so that Aroldis Chapman could move into the starting roatation or it might be for a leadoff hitter as the Reds await the arrival of Billy Hamilton.

(Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

With Cozart, you have a guy with a full season of big league experience under his belt. While we didn’t witness that offense we had hoped to see, Cozart is better than advertised from a defensive standpoint. His triple slash of .246/.288/.399 was less than appealing. He did smack 15 home runs which was tied for 4th among all NL rookies.

Yes, we can all harp on the final outcome of the Gold Gloves, but the fact that Cozart, a rookie last season, was among the shortstop finalists tells us all we need to know about how he is viewed by opposing managers and coaching staffs.

Gregorius is a different matter in that he is five years younger (22) than Cozart (27), and he was a September call-up.

One thing we cannot adequately compare is how Gregorius will do with the bat. You can’t take a whole lot, if anything, away from only 21 plate appearances. For his minor league career, Gregorius managed a slash of .271/.323/.376. He doesn’t have the pop of Cozart (20 career minor league home runs compared to 50 for Cozart) although he has exhibited a little more over the last two seasons, hitting 7 in each.

Most will feel you cannot go wrong selecting either. The one you stand by will likely man the shortstop position for years to come. That will aid in replenishing the position from an organizational standpoint. As Doug Gray of Reds Minor Leagues tells us, there should be a concern.

"Shortstop is a very questionable position in the system. While Didi Gregorius is arguably a Top 100 prospect in baseball there probably isn’t another shortstop in the system who can stay at the position until you get to rookie ball and there are real questions about his bat ( Zach Vincej). I would say that the position is a Grade C- only because it can be carried by a true prospect and there is at least some depth even if most of the guys won’t stick there, they can at least cover the position in a pinch. The spot has taken a big step backwards from last year with the graduation of Cozart and Billy Hamilton making the move to another position."

I repeat, I don’t think Walt and Company can make a wrong call here. Both have similar minor league numbers as far as batting average and on-base percentage. Cozart has a little more pop in his bat while Gregorius owns great range and a plus arm defensively. Take the guy with a year under his belt or go for the other who owns a higher ceiling.

Back to Morosi. He mentions the A’s, Twins, Diamondbacks and Rays as potential trade partners.

The A’s have bullpen depth and an extra outfielder in Coco Crisp (again with the Crisp talk?) since the acquisition of Chris Young from Arizona. If talks between the A’s and Stephen Drew go south, GM Billy Beane certainly has an out in contacting Walt about a potential deal. What could throw a wrench into this scenario is the latest buzz out of Cleveland that Asdrubal Cabrera might be available.

Some may squirm at the mention of Crisp, but it is worth mentioning that he is in the “final year” of his current deal…which will see him make $7MM. There is an option year (2014) attached and that option is held by the team, not Crisp. This would certainly afford Cincy the luxury of having Billy Hamilton in Louisville (if that’s here he begins 2013) for the entire season in order to get more reps playing center field.

(Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE)

The Twins have a pair of lead-off options in Denard Span and Ben Revere. Considering the money aspect, I think Span would be the guy the Twins would like to move as he will $11.25MM over the next two years plus a $9MM team option for a third season ($500k buyout). A bigger deal could be in the works with the Twins as they are also eyeing some arms for their starting rotation. Yes, Tony Cingrani and Daniel Corcino will likely be mentioned if anything evolves to that point.

Arizona could look to deal Gerardo Parra, and Morosi even suggests Adam Eaton, although I would think Eaton would be least likely. Parra can lead-off as he was the second most used lead-off hitter for Kirk Gibson last season (37 game). Also note that Gibson’s top option was Willie Bloomquist and you may now take that for what you will.

Parra did won a Gold Glove in 2011.

And whenever Arizona is mentioned in any potential trade chatter, the name Justin Upton will be whispered. Will take a lot more than Cozart or Gregorius to get that deal done I can assure you. You would be looking at a deal along the lines of the Latos trade.

The Rays are an interesting inclusion. All that pitching from a starters perspective. Not much anywhere else on the roster unless by some means you pry Fernando Rodney or Desmond Jennings away from them. Rodney had a career year in 2012 and Jennings was Joe Maddon’s lead-off guy much of the season. Honestly, not seeing either happening.

In the past, the names of James Shields, and to a severely lesser extent, Wade Davis have been bantered around the interwebs as possible Reds targets, but neither would fill what some could label as a need for the Reds.

The Rays would love to plug an everyday shortstop along side Evan Longoria. Check out the team’s website for their current depth chart. Ben Zobrist is listed as the #1 at first, second and short.

Who would you like to see be the Reds starting shortstop?