A post today on MLB Trade Rumors suggests that the Cincinnati Reds would be willing to part with one of their young shortstops for an outfielder that could lead off. Here is your opportunity Detroit. Go out and get that young shortstop of the future. The two shortstops that were suggested in the post were Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius.
Cozart spent all of 2012 with the Cincinnati Reds, playing well for most of the season before fading somewhat down the stretch. While Cozart hit just .246 and produced an OPS of .687 in 2012, his real value was contained in his glove. Hint: That is something the Tigers desperately need. Cozart was well above average in the field, producing an UZR of +9/150. Basically, he isn’t that statuesque type SS that the Tigers…ahem…may have now…
Gregorius is a well thought of SS prospect as well, who grabbed himself a cup of coffee at the big league level at the end of the season. While he isn’t a power producing bat or anything, he has gotten a little bit better as he has gotten older. He will be just 23 years old in 2013 and has a bright long term outlook with both the bat and the glove. In fact, the Reds might rather keep him over Cozart.
Point being, the Reds are one of the few teams outside of Texas that actually has a surplus of shortstops.
I do realize that the Tigers recently picked up the option on Jhonny Peralta. They of course had to do this simply because there isn’t any other internal option. In fact, there was some rumor that the Arizona Diamondbacks were interested in acquiring Peralta down the stretch last season. If the Tigers could acquire one of the young Reds SS for the future, maybe the Tigers can check on Arizona’s current interest to move Peralta for something else.
Now, as for what it would cost the Tigers to get one of the Reds’ guys? It may be a combination of Andy Dirks plus a bullpen arm that gets it done. While Dirks is probably a better hitter, and could fill the lead off spot for the Reds, the premium on SS as a position could mean it would take more. The Tigers do have enough relievers, and this may be an opportunity to move a potentially overvalued Phil Coke as well.
Dirks and Phil Coke for Cozart and maybe a minor leaguer would seem fair to me. I don’t think it could be underestimated how much a plus defending SS would mean to the Tigers infield next season. Putting Cozart next to Infante for a whole season means that infield gets to a whole bunch more baseballs in 2013 than it did in 2012.
What do you all think? What would you be willing to give up for Cozart?
*As a side note, I intended to put together a post of young shortstops the Tigers should be in the market for. Essentially letting everyone know what might be available out there for the right price. Cozart and Gregorius would’ve been on that list for sure. Since I gave them their own separate post, I probably won’t include them on the next one. I still will be approaching other shortstops out there. The reason? This is likely to be Peralta’s last season with the Tigers. They need to find someone long term.