The Seattle Mariners are nearing a deal to acquire shortstop Zack Cozart from the Cincinnati Reds, according to the Tacoma News Tribune's Bob Dutton. The clubs have not commented on the report.
Cozart, who turns 31 on Aug. 12, has re-established himself this season after a disastrous knee injury last season. He is batting .266/.317/.462 with a career-high-tying 15 home runs and 41 RBIs while maintaining a reputation for superb defensive ability. Making $2.9 million this season, Cozart will be third-time eligible for arbitration this offseason.
On June 10, 2015, vs. the Phillies, Cozart tore both the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his right knee when he slipped on first base running out a ground ball. The injury required season-ending surgery that stopped the makings of a breakout year. Cozart was able to not only resume his career in 2016, but he has showed even more improvement at the plate.
If Cozart is dealt, it would open the door for the Reds to play prospect Jose Peraza regularly at shortstop. Peraza has been on the big league club for a month, but he has played sparingly.
Seattle has a promising 22-year-old shortstop in Ketel Marte, but the club is looking for a veteran infield presence. Additionally, Marte was placed on the DL with mononucleosis on July 22, and given that the Mariners don't know when he'll be back or how strong he will be when he returns, that could also factor in their decision making.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com.. Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.