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Rumor Central: Will the Reds re-sign Zack Cozart?

One of the key decisions facing the Cincinnati Reds is whether to make a serious effort to re-sign shortstop Zack Cozart, who is eligible for free agency following a career year.

In an interview with Zach Buchanan and C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds general manager Dick Williams says he will "continue to talk to Zack and see if there's something that can be worked out there."

Williams, at least publicly, is keeping an open mind about retaining the 32-year-old Cozart, who posted a .297/.385/.548 slash line with 24 homers and earned his first All-Star berth this year.

The Reds, however, have no plans to spend lavishly on free agents, so Cozart might need to take a hometown discount in order to stay in Cincinnati. Buchanan and Rosecrans reported last week that it is unlikely the Reds would give Cozart a qualifying offer worth $17.4 million.

If the Reds do spend in free agency, they may be more inclined to use the resources on the more glaring need of starting pitching.

If Cozart lands elsewhere, Williams said 23-year-old Jose Peraza, who had just a .297 OBP in his first full season in the majors, would be the "primary candidate" to take over at shortstop.

-- Doug Mittler

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