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Reds avoid arbitration with all 4 eligible players

Cozart, Hamilton, Wood, Cingrani agree to 1-year deals
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The Reds avoided arbitration with all four of their eligible players on Friday, the club announced.

Dollar figures were not made public by the club, but according to a source, shortstop Zack Cozart will get a one-year contract worth $5.325 million. Center fielder Billy Hamilton agreed to a one-year, $2.625 million contract. Right-handed reliever Blake Wood settled on a one-year deal worth $1.275 million, while lefty reliever Tony Cingrani also got a deal done for $1.825 million.

CINCINNATI -- The Reds avoided arbitration with all four of their eligible players on Friday, the club announced.

Dollar figures were not made public by the club, but according to a source, shortstop Zack Cozart will get a one-year contract worth $5.325 million. Center fielder Billy Hamilton agreed to a one-year, $2.625 million contract. Right-handed reliever Blake Wood settled on a one-year deal worth $1.275 million, while lefty reliever Tony Cingrani also got a deal done for $1.825 million.

"We were pleased," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "It's very nice to have them all resolved and off of our plate. We can focus on other things."

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The deadline for players and clubs to exchange salary-figure proposals on one-year contracts was at 1 p.m. ET on Friday.

Williams credited assistant GM Nick Krall and director of baseball operations Eric Lee for getting the deals done ahead of the deadline.

"Nick and Eric really shouldered the primary load," Williams said. "They worked hard and got very fair results for all sides in the end."

Some clubs, including the Reds, employ a "File and Trial" policy -- meaning that once numbers are exchanged, they will likely not negotiate ahead of a hearing next month.

"I do think it brings things into focus a little clearer to get stuff done," Williams said. "I won't say it's always the right strategy to go with, but we are finding it to be effective. We are migrating that way with our approach. It sends a message that you're willing to go to a hearing."

Cozart, 31, was up for arbitration for the third and final time. He avoided a hearing last year by signing a one-year, $2.93 million contract. He can become a free agent after the season, which has prompted the Reds to attempt to trade him in order to make way for young infielder Jose Peraza.

Williams has spent the offseason exploring deals for both Cozart and second baseman Brandon Phillips but said that there had been "no action" on any progress.

Last season was a big comeback year for Cozart after he sustained a catastrophic right knee injury that required reconstructive surgery in June 2015. He batted .252/.308/.425 with a career-high 16 home runs and 50 RBIs, but he did not play after Sept. 10 because of tendinitis in the same knee. But Cozart deemed himself 100 percent again in December and cleared for all activities.

Video: STL@CIN: Cozart plates Holt with a double to left

Hamilton, 26, batted .260 with a .321 on-base percentage and 58 stolen bases in 2016 while earning $570,000. Much of his production came after the All-Star break, when he won back his leadoff spot and hit .293 with a .369 on-base percentage. Numerous injuries plagued him during the year, including a strained left oblique that left him unable to play after Sept. 4.

Wood, 31, earned $600,000 in 2016 as the lone free agent the club signed to a big league contract last offseason. The right-hander went 6-5 with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.435 WHIP, and he led the pitching staff with 70 appearances and bullpen with 76 2/3 innings -- both career highs. He did allow eight of his nine homers during the second half of the season.

Video: MIA@CIN: Wood fans Yelich to escape jam in the 7th

Cingrani, 27, earned $530,000 last season and led the Reds with 17 saves while posting a 4.14 ERA in 65 appearances. It was his first fully healthy season in a few years, but he often struggled at keeping people off of the bases. The left-hander compiled a 1.444 WHIP and retired less than half of his first-batters faced (34-of-65), while 11 of 29 inherited baserunners scored.

Video: CIN@PIT: Cingrani retires Mercer to earn the save

The Reds have generally avoided arbitration hearings with their players, but it has happened. Just last year, the arbitration panel ruled in favor of reliever J.J. Hoover. It marked the first time the club went to a hearing since it defeated pitcher Chris Reitsma in 2004.

With arbitration cases out of the way, Williams and the Reds are keeping their options open on potential moves ahead of Spring Training, which opens on Feb. 13. Teams have continued to call about players for potential deals.

"We're still looking at opportunities with other clubs and talking about different scenarios," Williams said without specifying details. "There is still stuff being kicked around."

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.

Cincinnati Reds, Tony Cingrani, Zack Cozart, Billy Hamilton, Blake Wood