Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart will miss the rest of the 2015 season with a knee injury, the team announced today:
SS Zack Cozart tore ligaments and the biceps tendon in his right knee. Is expected to have surgery Monday. Rehab approximately 9 months.
— #VoteReds (@Reds) June 11, 2015
Can the Reds replace Cozart's production at shortstop?
Replacing Cozart will be a tough ask for the Reds, both offensively and defensively. At the plate, Cozart was having the best season of his career, hitting .258/.310/.459 with nine home runs in 53 games. He was also excellent in the field, tied for second among shortstops with seven Devensive Runs Saved in the first two months of 2015.
The Reds have started Kristopher Negron at shortstop in the six games in which Cozart has sat this season, but Negron is hitting just .135/.250/.151 in 85 plate appearances this season, so they will call up Eugenio Suarez, who hit .242/.316/.336 for Detroit last season, to be the everyday shortstop, reports C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Tough news on Cozart, who was having such a great season for #Reds. Expect Suarez to be primary SS
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) June 11, 2015
Is this a nail in Cincinnati's coffin?
The Reds are already 11 games behind the division-leading Cardinals in the NL Central at 27-31. In addition to Cozart, the Reds have already lost outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Devin Mesoraco to injury, not to mention the loss of starting pitcher Homer Bailey to Tommy John surgery.
Given the injury situation for the Reds and where they are in the standings, it may be time to look toward 2016 in Cincinnati.
Does this make the Reds sellers?
If the Reds were't sellers before, they almost certainly are now. Cincinnati's biggest trade chip is starter Johnny Cueto, who is in the final year of his contract and has posted a 2.64 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 78⅓ innings in his first 11 starts this season.
The Reds could also look to move infielders Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips and outielder Jay Bruce if they go in the direction of a full rebuild.