I am normally a very positive and optimistic person when it comes to the LA Angels. However, when a situation keeps having repeatedly, you have to call it like you see it.
When the LA Angels signed third baseman/shortstop Zack Cozart to a three-year contract worth 38 million dollars in December of 2017 the Angels thought they had shored up the third base spot. Cozart was coming off a career year that saw him make the NL All-Star team and he received a donkey as a gift from Reds’ teammate Joey Votto for his accomplishment.
In 2017 Cozart hit .297 with 24 homers and 63 RBIs for the Reds which made him one of the most attractive free agents at third base next to the Brewers Mike Moustakas (who was on the Royals). The Angels had not had a consistent third baseman who had played the position for more than two seasons since 2009 when Chone Figgins had last played for the team for three plus years as the primary third baseman.
Unfortunately this hasn’t been the case. Last season Cozart played 58 games due to a shoulder injury that ended his season in mid-June. Cozart was only hitting .219 with five homers and 18 RBIs at the time. It was a blessing in disguise as that allowed the Angels to see what David Fletcher could do and the rest is history. They also got to see what Taylor Ward could do as well.
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This season Cozart has again battled injuries. Cozart missed 10 days at the end of April and now again he is on the IL. In 38 games this season Cozart is hitting .125 with no homers and seven RBIs. Not a very good return on the Angels investment.
So the question is should the Angels pull the plug on Cozart and eat his contract for the next year and a half or keep hoping he turns it around.
Cozart is a good guy, plays great defense and is a good clubhouse guy, but is that enough to keep him around and limit the development of Fletcher and Luis Rengifo?
LA Times writer Mike DiGiovanna weighed in about Zack Cozart.
Is this lack of production due to his shoulder injury not totally being right? Maybe. Only Cozart and the Angels training staff may know the answer to that question. I think that maybe they should give Cozart one last shot when he is healthy again. If he still can’t find himself you cut him loose.
They will be losing around 20 million dollars (assuming they would cut him loose around the All-Star Break). Not a great thing, but it would be addition by subtraction. I hate being negative, but if Cozart is hurting the team by taking up a roster spot then he has to go.
Cozart would not be the first free agent bust for the Angels. Josh Hamilton comes to mind, as well as C.J. Wilson. Go back a little further and you have Joe Blanton and Steve Finley. All got multi-year deals and other than Wilson the rest did not ever have a good season in Halo red. Wilson’s first 2.5 seasons were pretty good, but it went downhill quickly.
Best case scenario is that Cozart finally gets his shoulder right and see what Cozart can really do when fully healthy. I am hoping for the latter scenario. Let’s see what happens.