Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners notebook: Possible deal to acquire Zack Cozart from Reds falls through

The Mariners couldn’t pull off a trade to acquire shortstop Zack Cozart from Cincinnati prior to Monday’s deadline.
The Mariners couldn’t pull off a trade to acquire shortstop Zack Cozart from Cincinnati prior to Monday’s deadline. AP

SEATTLE — The Mariners spent Monday morning trying to iron out the details on a trade to acquire shortstop Zack Cozart from Cincinnati before the 1 p.m. deadline for non-waiver deals.

It didn’t happen.

Multiple sources earlier indicated a deal seemed likely. The Mariners believed they had a framework for a two-for-two deal in place Sunday in which they would have sent minor-league pitcher Luiz Gohara to the Reds.

The proposed swap had two other minor-league players changing clubs but, ultimately, the Reds backed away — apparently because they spent much of the morning restructuring a trade that sent outfielder Jay Bruce to the New York Mets.

In effect, it appears the Reds ran out of time before they could completely review and assess the medical records of the players they were to receive from the Mariners.

General manager Jerry Dipoto declined to discussed specifics but, asked how close the Mariners came to a trade, he replied: "Thirty seconds? But that’s not unusual at the trade deadline. We had a lot of things going on.

"Some that came much closer than others. Some got very deep into the deal-making phase and just didn’t come to pass."

Trades can still be made provided the players involved clear waivers, which give every other club the opportunity to acquire the player simply by taking over his contract.

"We’re going to have something on the market in August," Dipoto said. "I guarantee there will be more activity throughout the league, and we’ll probably be at the center of that."

Mariners officials didn’t rule out a resumption of talks with the Reds regarding Cozart, who won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season.

The Mariners did make three trades in recent days:

***On Saturday, they sent left-handed starter Wade Miley to Baltimore for minor-league lefty Ariel Miranda, who was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

Miranda, 27, is likely to be recalled in time to fill Miley’s vacancy in the rotation for Thursday’s series finale against Boston at Safeco Field.

***On July 26, they acquired reliever Drew Storen from Toronto in a trade for reliever Joaquin Benoit.

***On July 20, they acquired two minor-league prospects — first baseman/designated hitter Dan Vogelbach and right-hander Paul Blackburn — from the Chicago Cubs for lefty swingman Mike Montgomery and minor-league righty Jordan Pries.


Right-hander Nathan Karns underwent a more complete examination Monday on the strained muscle in his lower back, which forced him to the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game against the Cubs in Chicago.

When Karns returns, he will also return to the rotation after making seven relief appearances with disappointing results: 13 runs and 15 hits in 13 1/3 innings.

The desire to return Karns to the rotation was one factor in the decision to trade Miley to Baltimore.

"When Nate was struggling as a starter in June," Dipoto said, "we transitioned him to the bullpen to try to get him going and see if that would help him tick up. It didn’t work. We didn’t see the stuff move north.

"Basically, it was the same stuff, and the role change didn’t help him much. Eventually, we’ll get back to Nate as a starting pitcher."


Shortstop Ketel Marte has regained half of the 22 pounds he lost while battling mononucleosis and could rejoin the active roster by the weekend. He hasn’t played since July 17.

"I feel real good," he said. "My energy level is good. I’m just trying to gain my weight back, so I’ve got to eat a lot. I feel like normal now."

Plans call for Marte to take swings Tuesday in a simulated game against injured reliever Nick Vincent before heading Wednesday to Tacoma to start a rehab assignment. He could return as soon as Friday.

***Vincent is ticketed for 15-20 pitches Tuesday in a simulated game to gauge his recovery from a strained muscle in his middle back, which has sidelined him since June 26.

Barring problems, Vincent will begin his rehab assignment later this week at Tacoma.

***Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush is an end of his rehab assignment, which can last a maximum of 30 days for pitchers, but isn’t ready to return to active duty despite making eight appearances since July 8.

"He went the back-to-back (nights on July 28-29)," Servais said, "but he might need a little more time than was originally thought. He thought he could come right back here after the back-to-backs. He may need a little more time."

Furbush is battling shoulder biceps tendinitis and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since July 7, 2015.


Right-hander Donn Roach returned Monday from Triple-A Tacoma to fill the vacancy created on the 25-man roster by Saturday’s trade that sent Wade Miley to Baltimore.

"He’ll fill in," manager Scott Servais said. "We went through quite a few guys (Sunday) night. If we get into a length situation tonight or (Tuesday), we’ll see if he can help us out."

Roach, 26, made three relief appearances in a June 24-30 promotion, when he permitted four runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings. He spent the rest of the season in the Rainiers’ rotation, where he is 6-5 with a 4.21 ERA.


The Mariners did acquire a player prior to Monday’s trade deadline when they added utilityman Michael Freeman from Arizona through a waiver claim before optioning him to Tacoma.

Freeman, who turns 29 on Thursday, was designated for assignment Saturday after hitless in nine at-bats over eight games for the Diamondbacks following his July 17 promotion from Triple-A Reno.

The Mariners cleared space on their 40-man roster by designated Tacoma infielder Pat Kivlehan, 26, for assignment. He batted .293 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 42 games after being reacquired from Texas in a May 29 trade.

Freeman is left-handed hitter who batted .317 this season with a .387 on-base percentage in 88 games at Reno.

Dipoto was Diamondbacks’ vice president for player personnel when they selected Freeman in the 11th-round pick of the 2010 MLB Draft.


Double-A Jackson outfielder Tyler O’Neill returned to the lineup Sunday after missing one game because of a bruised left elbow suffered Friday when hit by a pitch — and continued a recent hot streak.

O’Neill went 2-for-3 with three walks in the Generals’ wild 17-10 victory at Montgomery (Rays). He is 11-for-26 (.423) with eight walks in his last eight games. He also has two homers and eight RBIs in that span.

Overall, O’Neill entered the week with a .305 average in 97 games with 19 homers and 78 RBIs.


It was 25 years ago Tuesday — Aug. 2, 1991 — that now-broadcaster Bill Krueger was named as the American League pitcher of the month for July after going 4-0 with a 1.19 ERA in six games (five starts).

Krueger finished the season at 11-8, which marked his career high in victories. He won 10 on two other occasions in a 13-year career from 1983-95 with eight clubs.


The Mariners and Red Sox continue their four-game series at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco Field.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc (1-0 with a 4.26 ERA) returns to the rotation for the first time since July 18 when he faces Boston lefty David Price (9-7, 4.26). The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners