It was an offseason for the ages for the Halos, who re-signed Justin Upton, won the Shohei Ohtani recruiting sweepstakes, traded for Ian Kinsler and signed Zack Cozart to play third base next to All-Star Andrelton Simmons. The moves make the Angels a legitimate contender in the American League.
Cozart will play third base for the first time in his career, but he was a plus-defender at shortstop and should have no problem with the transition. The trio of Simmons, Kinsler and Cozart gives Los Angeles one of the best defensive infields in the league, with high offensive upside to boot.
After six years of below-average hitting, Cozart broke out last season and made his first All-Star Game. The 32-year-old hit .297/.385/.548 with 24 doubles, 24 home runs and 63 RBI in 122 games. If those power numbers stay at a high level, the Angels are getting Cozart at a steep discount. He has had trouble staying healthy but did make big improvements with his approach at the plate last year, nearly doubling his career walk rate.
The value of this contract hinges on Cozart maintaining last year’s production levels. It does not appear to be a blip on the radar. In an even deeper lineup than he hit in with Cincinnati last year, Cozart should continue posting All-Star numbers at a valuable position at a very reasonable cost.