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MLB trade rumors: Reds' Zack Cozart ‘highly unlikely’ to sign extension

Cincinnati is looking to deal the 2017 All-Star this summer.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A contract extension between the Reds and shortstop Zack Cozart is "highly unlikely," as reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal adds that the Reds do not intend to offer Cozart a qualifying offer, and could lose the shortstop to free agency this offseason if a trade does not materialize at the deadline.

Cozart, 31, has been exceptional at the top of the Reds' lineup in 2017, hitting .321/.400/.566 with an OPS+ of 147. Clubs may be skeptical of his production going forward however, as his production this season is well above career norms, including an OPS jump of .732 to .966 between '16-'17. Yet Cozart's breakout season is nothing to scoff at, as his 3.3 fWAR ranks third among shortstops and 16th in all of baseball this season.

While the market for Cozart "seems limited," the 2017 All-Star could help a contending club at either middle-infield position. Owed around $2 million the rest of the way, Cozart would be an inexpensive addition for a team needing a short-term upgrade. The Reds may have an easier time moving Cozart if teams are interested in experimenting a move to third base, as the Mets may do with Asrdubal Cabrera.

Cozart was voted as the National League starting shortstop at this year's All-Star game, his first career selection. His .321 batting average ranks best mark among all shortstops in 2017.