TODAY: Cozart underwent the surgery, the Angels announced. The procedure carries a recovery timetable of 6-8 months, so Cozart will indeed miss the rest of the season and could miss some Spring Training time if his rehab is on the longer end of the spectrum.
WEDNESDAY: The Angels announced tonight that infielder Zack Cozart has been diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left shoulder that will require surgical repair. The Angels didn’t provide a timetable for his return, though it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to recover in time to return in 2018.
Cozart, 32, signed a three-year, $38MM contract with the Angels to serve as their everyday third baseman this past offseason. However, after a strong start to the season, he faded badly, hitting just .184/.287/.224 in his final 27 games before landing on the disabled list on June 15. Given today’s medical update, it seems quite likely that his first season with the Halos will come to a close with an overall .219/.296/.362 batting line.
It’s the latest in a staggeringly long line of injuries for an Angels club that now has an incredible 13 players on its Major League disabled list. Beyond Cozart, key players including Shohei Ohtani, Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano and Keynan Middleton are all on the shelf at present.
[Related: Los Angeles Angels depth chart]
Rookie David Fletcher and veteran Luis Valbuena have been sharing the workload at third base since Cozart landed on the disabled list, though Valbuena is in the midst of his worst offensive season since 2012. Fletcher was on an otherworldly tear in Triple-A before his call to the Majors and has hit well in a tiny sample of 24 plate appearances. Certainly, the Angels could elect to stick with that pair for the remainder of the season, but the loss of Cozart also presents GM Billy Eppler and his staff with the possibility of acquiring a short-term upgrade at the hot corner at a time when the market figures to be flush with options.
Manny Machado, of course, is the biggest name on the trade market who fits that bill, but there will surely be others on the table. Mike Moustakas is already available, and it stands to reason that the Mets would be willing to part with either Todd Frazier or Asdrubal Cabrera. Adrian Beltre stands out as yet another intriguing possibility, as the Rangers are reportedly open to dealing the future Hall of Famer, who is a free agent at season’s end. Old friend David Freese, too, could emerge as a trade candidate next month, depending on the Pirates’ play.
At a certain point, however, it’s worth wondering if the Angels will even function as buyers on the summer trade market. The Halos are 4-11 in their past 15 games and have fallen to fourth place in the AL West, currently sitting a likely insurmountable 12 games back of the Astros. The Wild Card prospects are a bit better for the Halos, as they’re “only” eight games out of that race. That said, with injuries mounting and a tough schedule ahead — they have two series against the Mariners and Dodgers each before the All-Star break — it shouldn’t necessarily be considered a lock that the Angels will be in position to be adding pieces a month from now.