Sports

Four Reds players reach 1-year deals to avoid arbitration

CINCINNATI — Shortstop Zack Cozart earned a significant raise from the Reds following his return from reconstructive knee surgery for a career season in 2016, one of four arbitration-eligible players to reach agreement on new contracts with the club Friday.

Cozart agreed Friday on a $5,325,000, one-year deal with Cincinnati, a boost from his $2,925,000 salary last year.

Left-hander Tony Cingrani, who made $530,000 last season, received a $1,825,000 deal while centre fielder Billy Hamilton will earn $2,625,000 and right-hander Blake Wood gets $1,275,000.

Cozart was limited to 53 games in 2015 because of the knee surgery, then returned last year to bat .252 with a career-high 16 homers and 50 RBIs in 121 games. He missed the last 21 games with soreness in the rebuilt right knee.

Cingrani led the Reds' rotating closer position with a career-high 17 saves in 23 chances. He went 1-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 65 games.

Hamilton, who earned $570,000 in '16, had a strong second half and hit .293 with a .323 on-base percentage and 58 steals — second in the NL — in 66 attempts. He's the first Reds player since Joe Morgan in the 1970s to have at least 56 steals in three consecutive seasons.

Wood went 6-5 with a 3.99 ERA in a team-high 70 games. He blew five of his six save chances and gave up nine homers. The Reds' bullpen led the majors with 101 homers allowed. He earned $600,000 last year.