Cozart, no stranger to speculation, touts health

Shortstop: 'Officially, for the first time since my [knee] injury, I'm full-go'

Cozart, no stranger to speculation, touts health

CINCINNATI -- Already a veteran of in-season trade rumors, Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is now learning what's like to be part of frequent offseason trade speculation.

"It's actually easier in the offseason," Cozart said as he enjoyed participating with his teammates at Redsfest. "You don't have to go somewhere right away if you're traded. I'm home with family and my son and I'm working out, so my mind is occupied where I'm not worried about baseball or anything. That's the easier part. I've voiced my opinion plenty of times about how much I love being with the Reds. That's all I know. It's a business. This next week should be interesting to see what comes to fruition."

The Winter Meetings begin on Monday outside of Washington D.C., where trades -- or at least the groundwork for them -- are often made.

Cozart, 31, is third-year arbitration eligible this winter after he earned $2.93 million this season, meaning he's one year away from becoming a free agent.

Cozart's perfect day at the dish

Considering that and the fact that the Reds are looking for everyday spots for middle-infield prospects Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, general manager Dick Williams will listen to trade offers for both Cozart and second baseman Brandon Phillips. Williams acknowledged that it's been quiet on that front, however.

Meanwhile, Cozart has been at home in Nashville, Tenn., and staying on top of rumors online. During the season and earlier in the offseason, the Mariners were often named as a possible destination. But Cozart realizes that's unlikely after Seattle acquired shortstop Jean Segura from Arizona last week.

That only makes Cozart's future murkier.

"I don't know anything," he said.

Cozart had a nice rebound from a devastating right-knee injury that required reconstructive surgery in June 2015. He batted .252/.308/.425 with 50 RBIs and a career-high 16 home runs in 121 games in '16, though he did not play a game after Sept. 10 because of tendinitis in the same knee.

Cozart's leadoff home run

This week ahead of Redsfest, Cozart saw team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek and got good news. He felt he could finally put the saga of his knee injury in the rear view permanently.

"Physically, I feel great," Cozart said. "Officially, for the first time since my injury, I'm full-go. There are no restrictions. I can do whatever I want, which is a big positive. I don't have to wear a brace. I just do my regular workouts."

Bailey update

After right biceps tenderness cut short Homer Bailey's comeback efforts from Tommy John surgery late last season, manager Bryan Price was optimistic about the Reds' starting pitcher.

"I just spoke with him recently," Price said at Redsfest. "It's more of a normal offseason."

Bailey will likely resume his throwing program later this month, like other pitchers.

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.