The Angels announced that they’ve signed infielder Zack Cozart to a three-year contract. It’s a three-year, $38MM contract for Cozart, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter), with the salary split evenly between the three seasons, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). Cozart is a client of Excel Sports Management.
By signing with the Angels, Cozart puts to bed any questions as to whether he’d approve a change of positions. There’s no chance that the Halos will move Andrelton Simmons, arguably the best defensive infielder on the planet, off of shortstop, so it seems that Cozart will primarily play third base. Adding Cozart to an infield that already includes Simmons at shortstop and newly acquired Ian Kinsler at second base should give Anaheim not only one of the best defensive infields in baseball but one of the best overall defensive clubs in the Majors.
Of course, adding Cozart’s bat to the lineup should be a boon for the Halos’ team output as well. The 32-year-old is fresh off a career-year at the plate, during which he posted a superb .297/.385/.548 batting line with career-highs in home runs (24) and triples (7) with 24 doubles added into the mix for good measure.
Whether he can sustain that level of power remains to be seen, but it’s worth emphasizing that Cozart’s 12.2 percent walk rate and 24.4 percent chase rate on pitches out of the strike zone were far and away the best marks of his career. Those positive trends suggest that much of his improvement at the dish was legitimate, even if the power could be difficult to replicate. Those of the mind that his power spike was in any way tied to his hitter-friendly home park in Cincinnati, though, should also take note that 12 of Cozart’s 24 homers came on the road, and his .279 road ISO handily topped his .230 mark at home.
[Related: Updated Los Angeles Angels depth chart]
The Reds made the somewhat surprising decision not to extend a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer to Cozart on the heels of that career-best season, so he’ll come to the Angels free of draft-pick compensation. He’ll become the latest addition for an Angels team that has absolutely loaded up since the World Series came to an end; in that time, Anaheim has re-signed Justin Upton to a five-year deal, added Shohei Ohtani to its rotation/lineup and acquired Kinsler from the Tigers — dramatically improving the team’s hopes of at the very least making another run at an American League Wild Card spot.
His addition isn’t a perfect one for the Angels, though. Manager Mike Scioscia now projects to have right-handed bats starting at catcher (Martin Maldonado), second base (Kinsler), shortstop (Simmons), third base (Cozart), left field (Upton) and in center field (Mike Trout). Luis Valbuena is on hand to serve as a potential lefty option at first base, though the Halos may have to play Albert Pujols there on days when Ohtani (who does bat left-handed) is in the lineup at DH. Kole Calhoun, at present, is the lone left-handed bat on the roster that appears ticketed for everyday at-bats.
That said, the addition of Cozart should largely wrap up GM Billy Eppler’s shopping for position players this offseason. While the Halos could yet make additions to the bench, they’ll likely now shift their focus to adding some help to the back end of a bullpen that remains ripe for some veteran additions. The rotation, too, could conceivably be a place for Eppler & Co. to add some reinforcements, though the team does have a long list of options, albeit most of them coming with some degree of durability concerns.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
WoW! The Angels are really going for it! Now if they can keep the starters healthy
and shore up the bullpen , they might actually have a chance!
some pitching help now and we are set
Why do you build me up (build me up) buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never win, baby
When you say you will (say you will) but I love you still
So moose tacos in an Angels uniform a no-no?
I’m sure Eppler never even inquired about the Moose since he was a gamble and cost a draft choice.
L. A. does it again.
But a one-year flash from a much older player is no gamble. What will all the geniuses on here with their 20/20 vision say when Cozart turns back into a pumpkin?
thats a great move for them
Honestly didn’t even know he was an FA
Huh? Id keep that comment to yourself
The baseball kid
Ohtani, Trout, Pujols, Upton, Kinsler, Cozart, Simmons how are they not going to win?
Pujols was worth negative WAR last year. The other players are very good though
The Astros….that’s how.
Lol their pitching
Steven St Croix
Lol that’s cute
If they’re pitching can hold up, they can be a serious contender.
Pitching pitching pitching
You did not know he was a free agent? And that is your post? You do not know much do you.
Angels goin for it this yet huh?
looks like they’re rebuilding
Their doing both, that’s what’s so amazing about eppler. Farm system has drastically improved and is still inloroving while they look like a contender next year
he’s playing 3rd I take it
Wow good for him
Wow Angels are getting beefy
And the dominoes start to fall.
There goes head case to the angels talks
Nice! I like the fit.
Angels making all the right moves!!!
Wow, pretty crazy to see one of the top fielding SS in the league get signed to play 3B!
Should have waited on Kinsler and had Cozart at 2B.
I’m sure that’s the plan next year since kinsler has 1 year left
Seems like the Angels are trying to ensure they have 3B open come next off-season. Wonder if they’re gonna make a serious run at Machado. That lineup would be absurd with him
Machado wants to play SS
Like a second baseman getting traded for to play center
We already have the top fielding SS in the league playing SS, so might as well grab another to replace Valbuena at 3B? I’m for it.
LETS GOOOOO! I was so freaking scared when I saw they were considering Headley. Glad to see Eppler investing in some nice defense along with an above average bat. This offense is going to look a lot better than a year ago…
Get pujols and madly out of there
calhoun 2nd upton fourth albert 5th or sixth
Steven St Croix
Angels trying to make a wild card game.
Trout Pujols and Upton all will have to have 30 homers and 100 RBI’s each. Because will be lucky to get 300 RBI’s combined from the rest of the hitters.
Upton won’t. He’s good for 30/80. Not an rbi guy at all.
That is, until you stick him in this lineup instead of Padres or tigers
J. C. Hahne
HItting behind Trout anyone can get 100 RBI. Even a 45 year old Pujols can. Upton will have no problem knocking in the runs this year.
He had 100 RBIs last season…
Drat, Double Drat!!! I was hoping for the Angels wanting to trade for Manny Machado!
I am assuming Cozart is signing to play 3rd base here!!!!!!
Kinsler is gone next year, perhaps Cozart will be willing to play 2B in 2019 if the Angels go after Machado next offseason instead of giving up prospects for only 1 year of Machado right now.
Angels could do that
Then the D’Backs could go for it by trading for Manny and the O’s getting Zack Greinke
If the plan is to move Cozart to 2B eventually, do they go for Machado or wait for local boy Nolan Arenado to hit free agency? I remember reading he had over 100 friends/family in attendance when the Rockies last played at the Big A.
Nolan hands down!
O manny. Saving the $ for Trout Ext.
They need lefties lol
Yes everyone needs a #Lefty!
Calhoun and Ohtani are their only lefty bats
Can we all stop pretending that Ohtani is gonna be able to hit mlb pitching… smh
I predict a hot start but will hit under .180 once he cools off
Your prediction and $4.00 will get you a Venti Latte at Starbuck’s.
And that’s only if he’s sleeping with the barista
Agreed, but you can’t deny the legendary defense the club as a whole has now.
Why? We struggled vs LHP last yr. Is a lefty gonna help in that department?
.. it would be good not to have a team full of just right handers…
The difference is most of them are quite good against RHP. I think this is something a lot of people have been overlooking.
Hate it as a Rangers fan. It’s been a good offseason for the Angels.
Wow the Angels defense is going to be lights out! Would have loved the hometown kid in Moustakas but this is a much better signing in terms of value.
Where is the Cubs fan who said he knew this was happening before it did?
I was thinking the same thing. That was pretty legit.
Probably works for Angels FO, lol.
Me too. Props.
Thank goodness they didn’t overpay for Moustakas…. what else does that one Cubs guy that called this know because i would believe him lol
Unreal. That guy called this a few days ago. What was his username?
That’s what I’m saying. Lol
I think it was something like cubshoops5 or something. He disappeared though, hopefully he didn’t get in trouble.
I love it. Much more flexibility, Obp, and we probably saved more money than if we signed moose.
As a Reds fan I am glad to see Cozart getting a decent pay day, he deserves it. His defense has always been near the top over the past few years he has developed into a solid hitter. His home/road splits are not the far off so I think he will do just fine with LAA.
Angels have some pop to their lineup. The entire team may total 50 SB though, no speed at all.
Kinsler and Trout alone may swipe 50 bags between them (assuming health). Something like 17 and 33 respectively.
Takes away an option for Moustakas. Good move for the Angels. Upgrade this rotation and they could be on to something.
Wow. Angels are really doin it!
Angels pitching still isn’t that great, they will have a good lineup and defense. However their pitching will keep them down.
They were top 10 in pitching last year with 8 major injuries to the staff…
Funny how Angles fans think they’re gonna compete for a WS ring this year with overrated declining plates such as Upton, Kinsler, Pukols etc…goodluck with that rotation!
The rotation is solid if they can stay healthy. Probably better than the cubs
Salty? Better than the patch work jed hoyer has put together for the rotation and bullpen. Cubs are heading back to obscurity. Later troll!
Upton just had a career year. No one expects pujols to be good. Kinsler had a down year but is really only needed for his defense at this point. No luck needed with the rotation, they have 8 solid starters competing for 5-6 spots, and that doesn’t include the fact that starting pitching just became number one on their list.
in 2014 the Angels won 96 games with a starting rotation of:
Weaver (100 ERA+)
Wilson (80 ERA+)
Richards (139 ERA+)
Shoemaker (118 ERA+)
Santiago (96 ERA+)
Skaggs (84 ERA+)
If their rotation pitches to their potential and remains relatively healthy (Ohtani, Richards, Heany, Skaggs + Back end guys) they will be just fine. The health part does concern me a little bit.
Also take into account how much of a black hole LF and 2B have been the last few seasons and the modest upgrades of Upton for a full year and Kinsler seem like much bigger adds for this ball club.
Thank you! Everybody who is saying the Angels STILL have no shot because of their horrible pitching just really isn’t paying attention.
How is Upton declining?
“Upton is ‘declining'” by virtue of choosing to play for the Angels.
At least this consistently seems to be the logic from many other fanbases around baseball—every player on the Angels not named Mike Trout is declining.
Now go get relief help!!!
How is Angels bullpen? The lineup is coming together nicely but you need pitchers too. Can they sign a Darvish and/or a Davis now?
stuck together with 2 known names and a bunch of kids and/or waiver claims, but they were silently effective last year, hopefully for them they can repeat
I wouldn’t waste this guy at 3b. He would be my 2b and the elder kinsler can play third
nah, keep him on the same side of the infield. Cozart can shift to 2nd after kinsler is gone in 2019. Until then, best not to introduce something new to an aging player like kinsler.
Good Luck Coach! We loved you and definitely will miss you in Cincinnati
Hope all these moves make for an exciting Angels team!
Eppler has assembled a very good team this off-season…Kudos to him! What a difference with the last two GMs we had……
The biggest question for the rest of the offseason as an Angels fan is which number I should choose for my Eppler jersey.
007! Or maybe even 714?
Great signing L. A. !
Six man rotation here we come. A roving door of Richards/Ohtani/Skaggs/Shoe/Heaney/Bridwell/JC/Tropeano with the 10-day DL utilized to its fullest.
Cozart allows us to keep 7 in the pen due to that glorious glove. He gives us a back-up at SS and can likely play 2B if needed. Cowart can handle 2B/3B as well as SS in an emergency. Valbuena can play either 1B/3B vs RHP. Perez on hand as a reserve C. Just need a 4th OF who can handle all 3 spots (Maybin reunion?) and offense is set.
J. C. Hahne
I’d love Maybin back as a 4th OF, even Eric Young Jr… Both are spark plugs. Looks like Cron may be Trade Bait for a RP.
Maybin can’t even handle 1 spot
I think the Angels probably try to trade Cron or Cowart (or both) for an OF/2B/SS utility guy. If they go with 6 man rotation and 7 man pen, you only have 3 on the bench. Valbuena, Graterol/Perez, and utility man.
No point in trading Cowart his upside outweighs his low trade value currently, he’s a long-term investment.
Val wouldn’t be on the bench he’d be starting at 1B.
Cowart/Perez/Maybin would be the 3-man bench
I am just imagining Trout’s numbers with this new lineup. Oh boy!
Bye Bye CJ Cron?
As long as it’s for pitching!
maybe for matt harvey? i hope not but he’s cheap and needs a change of scenery. I also think he would do much better in a full-time bullpen role
Saves them from over paying for Moose
Where is that Cubhoops guy that called this a few days ago? That dude said it was a done deal and just wasn’t announced yet. I’d like to tell him I was wrong by doubting him lol. Not a Angels fan but I do like what they’ve done this year. Their rotation is good if Heaney and Richards stay healthy this year after missing so much time. Othani not only adds to their rotation but adds to their batting lineup, with a full season of Upton and they filled their need for a 2nd baseman and 3rd baseman. Cozart is a nice pick up and if Kinzler bounces back that will be a nice pick up too. I’m very curious to see how this team does. Now they just need bullpen help.
Need a bullpen
I agree! They can make the rotation healthier
and stronger by trying the 6 man rotation thing and making the bullpen the strongest part of their pitching !
Dinger city in Anaheim
And that’s just their opponents.
Moustakas to the Braves?
I would assume they add a staring pitcher somehow, but if they don’t;
That’s a lot better than the names could lead on.
Plus Bridwell and Tropeano.
Would love to see them sign a front end SP and shift one of the starters to long relief and trade another for a back-end option.
The Angels can sign whoever they want but they still have the worst manager in the history of the game so it won’t make a difference. Last place club.
the phillies have had 6 managers in my lifetime worse than mike scoscia
How do you call a manager that has won a WS, a division 6 times, and kept a team ravished by injuries 2 straight years in the race for a playoffs until the last weeks of the season the worst manager in the history of the game? You apparently don’t know what baseball is!
Just about as poorly informed a comment as anyone will see today.
Day full of head scratchers
It’s funny how people keep saying about the rotation dont realize that they were 6th in the AL in team ERA. and that’s without Richards and ohtani.
That’s what happens when people choose to look at the names instead of the numbers.
With Ohtani and Richards in the fold, health permitting this can be a top-3 AL rotation.
The crazy thing is that the Astros were just above them in that stat as well, showing the rotation is probably already good enough or not far off.
Exactly. The keyboard warriors aren’t so good with the facts sometimes.
They’re just talking heads….. they’re basically substituting Ricky nolasco and Jesse Chavez for ohtani and Richards and supposedly that rotation is worse lol. That’s just proof they don’t watch baseball.
Great move. Shift him to 2nd next season and go for Machado
That’s a lot of money for a guy who’s never played 3rd base.However most ss can play the hot corner it’s all reaction time at 3rd. Bullpen,1 starter and we are there !!! Go halos !!!
How is Simmons arguably the best defensive player on the planet. There’s plenty better than him.
That’s just at SS
Javy Baez (he plays 2nd like it’s his natural position)
Should I continue or have I proven my point.
Hahahahahahahaha! I am a Nats fan and I am laughing at you saying Zimmerman is better at first than Simmons is at SS. Be it eye test or stats, Simmons owns everyone.
halos and quacks
Russell DRS 15
Simmons DRS 32
Baez at SS DRS 1
UZR at SS -.04
Baez at 2b DRS 5
Baez at 2b UZR 0.6
Lindor DRS 5
Lindor UZR 5.9
Arica DRS 6
Arcia UZR -2.3
Correa DRS 4
Correa UZR -1.7
All of the SS you mentioned and their DRS’ didn’t even add up to Simmons DRS
Combined DRS: 31
Combined UZR: 5.9
And as for all the other players you mentioned, half of them aren’t even good defenders lol. It’s like you threw out a bunch of random names lmao. Seriously, kris Bryant, really? Not only are you way off, you weren’t even in the same realm. At a demanding position, Simmons is the best defender is baseball.
I’ve never seen such nonsense in my life.
This guy actually said Ryan Zimmerman is a better defender than Simmons. And that’s not a knock on Zimmerman. You’re just dumb hahahahaha
Your an absolute idiot or troll. Havent decided but based on your idiot…simmons has rated as the best defender for the last 6 years. Its not even close please go away.
The article said Simmons was arguably the best defensive player on the planet. Not the best SS. Zimmerman isn’t even top 10 or 20 at first but he’s still good. Simmons isn’t that good. The first 10 players are way 10x.better than Simmons ever wishes he could be. Baez makes the plays he can make in his sleep.
Everyone that downvoted me knows I’m right thats why I got so much hate and why you and 9 others trolled me.
Baez is 10x the SS Simmons ever was or will be Simmons was voted the best by Anaheim and Atlanta fans. Check your facts guy.
Kris Bryant is the 2nd best 3rd baseman in baseball behind Arenado. And it’s not even close.
Highly doubt Simmons has that high of DRS. Baez is more like 20 Simmons if you claim he’s so great is maybe at 21.
Baez is better than Simmons. Theres nothing Simmons can do that baez can’t. You’re really dumb if you think Bryant,arendo, altuve,Lindor, Correa are not as good or probably even better than Simmons. Simmons is top 10 in league SS. Lindor, Correa and Baez in that order are 1,2, and 3.
I’m convinced you’re trolling, and I just find it fascinating how hard you’re trying to troll.
That, or the amount in which you actually watch baseball is limited to ESPN’s top 10 plays of the week.
Looks like someone forgot to take their meds today.
Not trolling. Don’t watch epsn mainly because they like to have hockey plays or soccer plays way too often as the #1 play. Hell they have non sports as #1 like bowling and poker.
Not even close to trolling.
You’re a bigger idiot than the guy that said Mike Scioscia is the worst manager in the history of baseball! Nobody right now and I MEAN NOBODY is a better DEFENSIVE PLAYER than Andrelton Simmons!
Beltre still can pick it. And Chapman looks like he could outshine Arenado one day. Rendon quite slick too. Bryant is great but not top 3 at 3b to me. At least you’re giving Arenado deserving credit- special talent.
Baez is legit at 2b. Could actually be the best but if you’re not SS then you’re not in discussion. Lemahieu, Schoop, Pedroia would also be contenders for my top 2b right now.
As for Simmons, it’s not close. He’s the best SS. Deal with it. Crawford and Lindor would be closest SS for me. Russell great but not top 3. Cozart ahead of Correa at SS. Even Tulo is still ahead of Correa. I’m very curious what you’re basing this on. Fangraphs DEF stat as well as some RF/9, F% and eye test is what I choose.
Simmons is like a Vizquel/Ozzie, or prime age Tulo. Joy to watch. No denying it.
halos and quacks
This post is so idiotic. So much so that I’m going to admit that I downgraded the post. You deserve it
This guy can’t be serious
Wow nice signing. Definitely a very good lineup and presumptive favorites to win West.
Angels are for real this offseason. Good prospect signings, international signings, and grabbing solid FA. Slowly building a good team. They still need pitching
Kinsler is a great stop=gap. Next year, Cozart can shift to 2B and the Angels can make a play for So Cal native (Downey), Evan Longoria. He played at LBST with Weaver and probably wouldn’t mind finishing his career at home with a playoff contender averaging 37,000 fans per game vs. 15,000 at the Trop.
The sky is truly the limit with this team! So many additions this offseason. Most of the lineup are average to elite players.
Cozart- above average offense)
Trout – ELITE
Pujols- below average hitter last season but can drive in runs like a machine.
Ohtani – above average hitter
Kinsler- average hitter last season, low average but a ton of runs. Can easily bounce back.
Simmons- above average hitter
Calhoun- average hitter
maldanado- below average hitter
Cozart- Elite SS, should be just as good at third.
Upton- above average almost Elite
Pujols- below average, but at 1st or DH it doesn’t matter.
Ohtani- who knows
Kinsler- above average
Should be a fun year to watch my favorite team! Lets see a run, not only for the playoffs this year but the World Series!
angels keep buying mike trout wedding presents…or trying to cheer him up after Carson Wentz went down.
would love to know what the second highest offer was to Cosart, with the lack of need for shortstops right now.
im sure zach figured out hitting at the age of 31 and will produce just as well now that he has gotten paid.
then again, daniel murphy did exactly the same thing, so what do i know.
Sure, they could do with another starting pitcher…
…but signing good defenders automatically improves every pitcher.
Well guys and gals, What do we got left to do?
Will look to add 2 risk/reward arms to the pen on the cheap.
Will dangle Cron for controllable pitching.
We know for certain if they don’t make the playoffs Scioscia will be gone and Brad Ausmus will be the new manager! Find someone to replace Petite as their long reliever and sign a big time closer like Wade Davis and these guys will give Houston a run for their money!
I love Scioscia, but I think Dino Ebel will be the guy to replace Scioscia.
I am so sick of the over used “best on the planet” cliche. Like Joe Buck uses 10 times a game. On the planet huh? Why not best in the universe?
Andrelton Simmons should be moved to third base, NOT Cozart. If Simmons is so much better at shortstop than Cozart, then if he’s move down the spectrum, he would make a better third baseman as well. Nobody has a better arm in baseball than Simmons does, so he should swallow his pride and move to the hot corner.
Lol no. Nobody is moving Simmons off SS and it would be idiotic to do so
This is the dumbest comment I have seen on MLBTR.
Simmons is not only the best defensive SS in the MLB, but also the whole planet.
That would be like moving Byron Buxton to 1B, or Yadier Molina to the OF.
Think before you make stupid comments buddy.
This story did not show up on my app or the website? What’s going on?
Can’t wait for Machado next year