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Report: Reds want to sign Zack Cozart to extension

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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.

Brewers reliever Josh Hader in hot water over racist, homophobic tweets from 2011-12

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Brewers reliever Josh Hader didn’t have a good night. He gave up four hits and a three-run homer to put the National League in a big hole in the All-Star Game. That’s the kind of thing that has to stick with you.

Oh, and he was also revealed to be a SUPER BIG racist, misogynist and homophobe. That’s gonna stick with him too, and may land him in trouble with Major League Baseball.

Someone decided to dig through Hader’s Twitter history this evening and when they did they found some ugly, ugly stuff in there from back in 2011-12.* Hader was found to have used the n-word, liberally. He said “I hate gay people.” He said some super misogynistic stuff about wanting a woman who will cook and clean for him, among other pretty damn vile things. There were multiple references to cocaine. He said “I’ll murder your family” to one person and made some total non-sequitur tweet simply saying “KKK.” You name a social media etiquette line that one can cross and Hader not only crossed it, but he totally and gleefully trampled over. If you want to see that vile stuff you can see it over at The Big Lead, which screen-capped it. I presume Hader has deleted them by now.

The news of Hader’s old, unearthed tweets bubbled out as the All-Star Game was going on, and reporters met Hader in the locker room right afterward for comment. Hader owned up to them — there was no “I was hacked” excuses offered here — saying that the tweets were a sign of immaturity when he was 17 years-old. He said he plans to apologize to his teammates, saying they don’t reflect on him as a person now. His quote: “No excuses. I was dumb and stupid.” Which, well, yes, obviously.

That may not be the end of it, however:

These tweets are old, Hader may be a different person now and people can do a lot of growing up between 17 and 24. But Major League Baseball is not happy tonight, I can assure you, that an ugly social media incident blew up during its biggest showcase of the regular season.

Will Hader be disciplined? Hard to say, given that Hader wasn’t even drafted yet when those tweets were made and given that MLB’s social media policy was not even in place then. But it would not shock me at all if more comes of this than Hader merely apologizing to his teammates. Stay tuned.

*There are several putative Hader tweets floating around Twitter right now of a more recent vintage. Hader has locked his account, however, and they cannot be confirmed, and many people who were able to access his account before it was locked said those tweets were not there before, with the suggestion that they were Photoshopped. We are neither in the position to — nor do we have the inclination to — verify which of Hader’s tweets are legitimate and which are fabricated. We know, however, that there is more than ample, awful stuff that he has owned up to and we’ll leave it at that for now.