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Rumor Central: Modest free-agent market for Zack Cozart?

Zack Cozart is coming off a career year, but the Cincinnati Reds shortstop might need to temper his expectations when he enters the free-agent market.

Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer suggests Cozart “could do well” in free agency, but adds “it’s unlikely he’ll break the bank.” Buchanan cites an American League executive who would be “surprised” if the 32-year-old lands a three-year deal.

Cozart is expected to be the top shortstop on the free-agent market after he posted a .297/.385/.548 slash line with 24 homers and earned his first All-Star berth. But teams may balk at a long-term deal given his age, injury history and the fact that his career numbers are a more modest .254/.305/.411.

Buchanan adds the Reds are “leaning heavily” against making Cozart a qualifying offer worth $17.4 million since it would eat up most of the dollars the team would have available for free agency.

- Doug Mittler

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