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Cozart beginning to look ahead to free agency

Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Zack Cozart thought for certain he would not end the year as a Red, but now that Aug. 31 has come and gone -- the deadline for players to be traded via waivers and still be eligible for the postseason -- it's pretty much ensured that he will finish the season in Cincinnati.

"It's weird," Cozart said. "I feel like the past two years -- not that I've been walking around on eggshells -- but any day could be that day. I've seen in the past two years so many guys go that I played with [uncertainty] for a good bit.

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CINCINNATI -- Zack Cozart thought for certain he would not end the year as a Red, but now that Aug. 31 has come and gone -- the deadline for players to be traded via waivers and still be eligible for the postseason -- it's pretty much ensured that he will finish the season in Cincinnati.

"It's weird," Cozart said. "I feel like the past two years -- not that I've been walking around on eggshells -- but any day could be that day. I've seen in the past two years so many guys go that I played with [uncertainty] for a good bit.

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"I thought it was inevitable that I would be gone. I probably would have been gone if it wasn't for my quad."

Cozart spent two stints on the disabled list with a right quad strain, so despite having his best year, he was a tough player to trade. He went into Thursday's game five plate appearances shy of qualifying for the National League leaderboard. If he were qualified, he would be leading NL shortstops in average (.309), on-base percentage (.402) and slugging percentage (.556).

Cozart, 32, was relieved to get the trade possibility out of the way.

"Now I can concentrate on finishing out the year," he said. "I'm feeling a lot better physically. That's a positive."

The Reds talked about the possibility of extending Cozart, but he said there have been no talks, so he's preparing to become a free agent.

"I've thought about it," Cozart said. "To be honest with you, the thing I keep thinking about is how weird it's going to be to not be affiliated with a team. Usually, I'm in contact with [strength and conditioning coach] Sean Marohn and getting my workout schedule. I'll probably stick to whatever workout routine I've done.

"It's just weird knowing that I don't have to go to Redsfest."

The Reds could offer Cozart a qualifying offer, which figures to be around $18 million. But at Cozart's age, he sees the advantage of long-term deal.

"Free agency can be a great thing or it can be really stressful -- all of a sudden, you're late in the offseason and you don't have a squad," Cozart said. "You can get a little antsy. We'll see what happens."

John Fay is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Reds