C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds will not make a $17.4 million qualifying offer to shortstop Zack Cozart.
Cozart, 32, had the best season of his career in 2017, batting .297/.385/.548 with 24 home runs, 63 RBI, and 80 runs scored in 507 plate appearances. He also played solid defense at a key position on the diamond.
Cozart is easily the most attractive free agent shortstop on the market. Other free agent shortstops include J.J. Hardy, Jose Reyes, Alcides Escobar, Alexi Amarista, Ruben Tejada, Erick Aybar, and Eduardo Nunez.
Earlier this season, there had been some rumblings that the Reds wanted to sign Cozart to an extension, but obviously nothing got done and he’ll test his value in free agency. Jose Peraza will most likely be the Reds’ everyday shortstop if Cozart ends up elsewhere.
The Reds lost their first arbitration case of the offseason, per a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Second baseman Scooter Gennett was awarded the $5.7 million salary figure he was seeking from the team, a $600,000 bump over the $5.1 million they countered with last month.
Gennett, 27, is coming off of a career-best performance in 2017. After getting claimed off of waivers by the Reds last March, he broke out with an impressive .295/.342/.531 batting line, 27 home runs and 2.4 fWAR in 497 plate appearances. By season’s end, he ranked among the top five most productive second basemen in the National League (and 12th overall). He’s currently set to remain under team control through 2019.
Gennett was only the second Reds player to go to an arbitration hearing this winter. Fellow infielder Eugenio Suarez was defeated in arbitration last week and stands to make just $3.75 million compared to the $4.2 million he filed for in January. All 22 arbitration cases have now been resolved. Twelve were decided in favor of the players.