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Report: Reds want to sign Zack Cozart to extension


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.

Indians release Mike Napoli

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The Cleveland Indians have released Mike Napoli.

This is not terribly surprising as he was seen as a depth move to begin with. Injury insurance for Yonder Alonso at first base and Edwin Encarnacion at DH, neither of whom are injured at the moment. Napoli was on a minor league contract and the Indians made it clear that, if he can’t find a major league job elsewhere, he’s welcome to come back and cool his heels in Columbus in the event he’s needed later.

Which may be what happens if he wants to keep playing because, after a season in which he hit .193/.285/.428, and a spring in which he hit .218/.310/.431, there aren’t likely to be a ton of takers.