The trade deadline is just a month away, and rumor has it the Reds aren’t looking to sell — at least, not when it comes to shortstop Zack Cozart. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the two could enter extension talks prior to the July 31 deadline. According to comments by club president Dick Williams, there’s “mutual interest” in keeping Cozart on board, though nothing substantial has been agreed upon just yet.
Cozart, 31, hasn’t piqued much interest on the trade front since last August, when a deal with the Mariners fell through minutes before the 2016 deadline. That could change this summer, as the shortstop appears to be on track for a career-best season and slashed .320/.404/.562 with nine home runs and a .966 OPS over his first 255 plate appearances. He was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday after sustaining a right quad strain earlier this month.
The Reds don’t appear to be short on middle infielders, with Dilson Herrera hacking away in Triple-A Louisville and Scooter Gennett and Jose Peraza holding down the fort on the major league level, but their collective production rate has been less than impressive with Cozart on the mend. Should a deal be struck in the next few weeks, however, Buchanan adds that the club will likely be seeking some kind of discount for the shortstop. That could be a problem for Cozart, whose results at the plate and on the field are building a compelling case for his impending free agency this fall.
Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.
Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.
J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.
This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.