The Reds have “officially” decided against issuing a qualifying offer to shortstop Zack Cozart, tweets Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. FanRag’s Jon Heyman and others have recently painted the chances of such an offer for Cozart as unlikely. The lack of a QO should boost Cozart’s free-agent stock as he heads into the open market on the heels of a career year.
Cozart, 32, batted .297/.385/.548 with a career-high 24 home runs, 24 doubles and seven triples (also a career-high) in 2017. Though hamstring and quadriceps injuries limited him to 122 games, Cozart’s explosive bat and typically strong glovework at shortstop led to a five-WAR season in the eyes of both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.
The rebuilding Reds, however, ultimately opted not to extend a $17.4MM one-year offer to Cozart due to a lack of a clear market for shortstops in free agency. Cincinnati apparently did not wish to risk Cozart accepting that offer and potentially bringing the team’s payroll north of $100MM before the offseason even began. Of course, the decision not to extent the QO also means that they’ll see one of the team’s best players walk without any form of compensation for his services.