CINCINNATI - The Reds added four prospects to their 40-man roster on Friday to protect them from being taken in next month's Rule 5 Draft.
The additions of shortstop Zack Cozart, infielder/outfielder Todd Frazier, infielder Kris Negron and pitcher Daryl Thompson brought the Reds roster to 37 players.
The Major League deadline to protect players was on Friday at 11:59 p.m. ET. Players signed at age 18 had to be added to 40-man rosters within five years or clubs risk exposing them to other clubs that could pluck them through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years old had to be protected within four years.
Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft, to be held during the Winter Meetings. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.
After a slow start to his season, the 24-year-old Frazier batted .258 with 17 home runs and 66 RBIs in 130 games for Triple-A Louisville. He was a supplemental first-round pick (34th overall) in the 2007 Draft and entered this year rated the No. 1 prospect in the organization by Baseball America.
Cozart, 25, batted .255 with 17 homers and 67 RBIs in 136 games for Louisville this season. He was the Reds' second-round pick in 2007.
Negron was acquired from the Red Sox in the Aug. 14, 2009, trade for Alex Gonzalez. The 24-year-old Negron batted .272 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs over 120 games for Double-A Carolina before a late-season promotion to Louisville, where he batted .190 over seven games.
Playing in the Arizona Fall League, Negron batted .296 with four homers for Peoria and was named the AFL player of the week on Monday.
At this time last year, the 25-year-old Thompson was sent outright off of the 40-man roster after he missed most of 2009 with a shoulder injury that required surgery. He made three starts for the Reds in 2008. Limited to 12 starts this season at Carolina because of a multitude of injuries, the right-hander was 0-5 with a 3.71 ERA, 11 walks and 52 strikeouts over 51 innings.
Thompson also continued his season in Arizona and was a Fall League pitcher of the week two weeks ago. He is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six games (five starts) for Peoria.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.