Cincinnati Reds should sign Zack Cozart to a one year deal

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

After not moving shortstop Zack Cozart prior to the trade deadline in 2017, the Cincinnati Reds should re-sign him for one more year.

The Cincinnati Reds didn’t move any of their potential free agents down the stretch in 2017.  That is not the right move for a rebuilding team.  Now, that the season is over, the Reds should re-sign shortstop Zack Cozart to a one year deal.

The current qualifying offer is $18.2-million.  The Reds should not offer that.  Cozart only made $5.3-million in 2017.

In the free agent market, the closest comparison to Cozart is probably J.J. Hardy from the 2013 off-season.  Hardy signed a $40-million deal covering three seasons, which seems in line with what people project for Cozart.  The question is what does that equate to for a single season.

The more recent comparisons are Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies and Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants.  Desmond signed a five year, $70-million deal to play first base for Colorado last off-season.  Crawford signed a six year, $75-million deal for the Giants.

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All of ranges fit in Cozart for a single year deal.  He is looking at a $12-15-million one year deal for the Reds.  That is a lot of money for a rebuilding team.  However, with some of the other moving pieces they may need him to start the 2018 season.

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The Cincinnati Reds need to maintain stability at shortstop because of all of the other moving pieces.

Looking around the team, only first base is truly stable from the beginning of 2017 to now.  Joey Votto is locked in and may win the National League MVP.  After that only Adam Duvall appears likely to start in the same place next season without a fight.

Billy Hamilton and Eugenio Suarez are both on the market for different reasons.

Hamilton can’t stay healthy and stands in the way of Phillip Ervin.  Suarez is caught in the cross hairs of top prospect Nick Senzel.

If Suarez moves on, then Scooter Gennett likely starts the season at third with Jose Peraza at second.  That means there is no set replacement for Cozart.  Plus, Peraza hasn’t shown that he can command shortstop on an everyday basis.

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The approach, however, has to be better in 2018.  The Reds must move Cozart pre-All-Star Game regardless of the season that he is having, if the Reds are out of contention.  Part of the reason the Reds are in this pickle now is because they didn’t get enough reps for Peraza or prospect Zach Vincej down the stretch.