Reds agree to 1-year deals with Zack Cozart, Mike Leake
CINCINNATI — The Reds have agreed to one-year deals with shortstop Zack Cozart and right-handed starter Mike Leake, leaving three Cincinnati players in arbitration.
They were still trying to get deals with catcher Devin Mesoraco, third baseman Todd Frazier and closer Aroldis Chapman. All three were All-Stars last season.
Cozart’s salary jumps from $600,000 last season to $2.35 million in 2015. He batted .221 in 147 games last year with four homers and 38 RBIs. The Reds like his defense — he committed only 10 errors.
Leake got a raise from $5,925,000 to $9,775,000 next season. The right-hander went 11-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 33 starts last year, pitching a career-high 214 1-3 innings. He’ll be counted on as an important part of the rotation following Mat Latos’ trade to Miami.
The Reds haven’t had a case go to an arbitration hearing since 2004. The three players remaining are in position to get huge raises after their All-Star seasons.
Mesoraco made $525,000 last season, when he took over as the starter and led all major league catchers in homers (25) and RBIs (80) while batting .273. His 24 homers while catching were the most by a Reds player since Johnny Bench did it in 1977. Mesoraco asked for $3.6 million and the club offered $2.45 million.
Frazier led National League third basemen with 29 homers and 20 steals. He batted .273 and drove in 80 runs while making $600,000. He asked for $5.7 million. The club offered $3.9 million.
Chapman got hit in the head by a line drive during spring training, resulting in surgery. He recovered and went 0-3 with 36 saves in 38 chances — the best percentage in the NL — and a 2.00 ERA in 54 appearances. He made $7,860,772 last season in salary and prorated bonuses. He asked for $8.7 million in salary in 2015 and the club offered $6.65 million.
The Reds can negotiate up until the hearing takes place. Arbitration hearings are slated for Feb. 1-21 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be heard by a three-person panel.