The Seattle Mariners are reportedly interested in Zack Cozart, but is he what they’re looking for in their attempts to add a veteran shortstop?
The Seattle Mariners offseason has so far seen a couple of interesting moves, with the addition of Carlos Ruiz and Danny Valenica. However, there is still a lot of work to do, as general manager Jerry Dipoto aims to strengthen the overall depth of the roster.
This includes looking for a veteran shortstop, after Ketel Marte‘s issues last season with fielding and hitting. In his defense, Marte spent two stints on the DL with a sprained thumb and mono, but his overall struggles still concerned manager Scott Servais.
The question is, who will Dipoto look towards to find that veteran presence at shortstop, while the Mariners wait to see if Marte can develop? The answer appears to be Zack Cozart, at least according to Bob Dutton of The News Tribune.
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Dutton writes that several major-league sources believe Seattle is the most likely fit for Cozart. He is viewed as an excellent defensive player, who last season batted .252, adding a career-high 16 home runs and 50 RBIs.
Further, Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams has confirmed the 31-year old is available. From a contract perspective, he is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter.
Speaking to USA Today, Williams said: “It’s something we’d have to consider. We’ve shown the willingness to trade guys who have been with us if it helps us get better.”
Despite the speculation, one Mariners official told Dutton they don’t need a shortstop: “We have Marte, and we think he’s going to be fine in the long term.”
However, the official then went on to concede: “Now could he benefit from some additional development time in the minors? Yes.”
The Mariners apparently almost acquired Cozart from the Reds at the August 1st trade deadline. As such, it would come as little surprise if Dipoto does end up trading for the 2007 second round draft pick.
Overall, it is too soon to give up on Marte, who deserves the chance to bounce back from his nightmare 2016 campaign. In that respect, Cozart could prove to be an excellent stopgap, especially if the Mariners do want to send their young shortstop to Tacoma for the start of next season.
What are your thoughts on the Mariners’ apparent interest in Cozart? Do you think he would be a good addition, or would you look elsewhere to address the shortstop position? Let us know in the comments section.