Reds promoting shortstop prospect Zack Cozart

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From John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

A Zack Cozart is registered at Reds team hotel. Could be [an] odd coincidence, I suppose.

Ruling out the one-in-a-million chance that it actually is an odd coincidence and there’s another “Zack Cozart” staying at the Reds’ team hotel this weekend in Milwaukee, it sounds as though the Cincinnati front office has finally given in and promoted the promising 25-year-old shortstop from Triple-A Louisville.

Cozart has hit .310/.357/.467 with seven home runs, 26 doubles and 32 RBI in 77 games this season for the Louisville Bats. He’s also stolen nine bases in 11 attempts while playing adequate defense.

Success isn’t going to come easy for the first-time major leaguer, but Cozart only has to outplay Paul Janish, who is batting .227/.259/.271, and Edgar Renteria, who is hitting .229/.304/.271, to make himself an everyday presence in Cincinnati’s inconsistent starting lineup.

The Reds were able to squeak out a 9-8 extra-innings victory in St. Louis on Wednesday but enter Thursday’s action with a disappointing 44-44 record. They need to get it going, and Cozart can help make that happen.

UPDATE, 12:39 PM: Yonder Alonso, a teammate of Cozart’s at Triple-A Louisville, has confirmed that the shortstop is on his way to Milwaukee. The move should be made official before Thursday night’s game.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.