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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.

Blake Snell becomes client of Boras Corporation

Blake Snell
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Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.

Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”

Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.