Reds' Zack Cozart hits disabled list; here's what it means for his trade deadline value
Shortstop Zack Cozart, in the midst of a big season, has landed on the DL with a quad injury
The Reds on Monday announced that right-hander Bronson Arroyo and shortstop Zack Cozart have been placed on the disabled list with, respectively, a shoulder strain and a right quad strain. The more significant of these is of course Cozart's.
Cozart is enjoying a career campaign in 2017. Through 58 games, Cozart's batting .320/.404/.562 with 30 extra-base hits. That's excellent production for any player, let alone one who plays a capable shortstop. While that's certainly out of step with the remainder of Cozart's career, there's some cause to think it might be sustainable in the near-term. For instance, Cozart this season has increased his hard-contact rate, and he's more than doubled his career walk rate. Related to that latter point, he's posted a career-low mark when it comes to chasing pitches out of the zone. Basically, Cozart is hunting for pitches he can drive, and he's finding them. Cozart is in his walk year, so the Reds' incentive to move him is obvious, especially since they're still within the parameters of a rebuild. Throw in the "sell high" dynamic related to Cozart's surging production, and you've got an obvious candidate to be dealt to a contender by July 31.
That injury, though, could complicate matters. The good news is that the move was made retroactively and that Cozart tried to play through it. All of that suggests it's not a major injury (the Reds have yet to say anything about a timeline for Cozart's return). That said, Cozart does have a substantial injury history, including wrist problems this season and, yes, right knee and quad injuries in the past (some of them major). Even if this is minor, consider it an untimely reminder that only once has Cozart topped 150 games played in a season.
Beyond that, we're in mixed bag territory. If you don't believe in Cozart's retooled approach, then the lost time is less opportunity for him to regress before any trade. If you do buy into the new Cozart, then it's less time to solidify his new baseline in the minds of those rival evaluators. Whatever the case, Cozart and the Reds would be served well by a quick return to health and avoidance of further injury before the calendar flips to August.