15 worst Los Angeles Angels free agent signings in franchise history
6. Zack Cozart: Three Years, $38 million, 2017
Zack Cozard is another example of a player who had one breakout year and the Angels decided to give a bunch of money to. Cozart was a .246 hitter with 58 home runs and an 82 OPS+ over his first six seasons as a Red. He really only played because of his awesome glove at shortstop. He then broke out seemingly out of nowhere in a huge way in 2017.
Cozart slashed .297/.385/.548 with 24 home runs and 63 RBI. He was an all-star in a contract year just like Matthews and got paid for it. The Angels gave Cozart a three-year deal to play primarily third base for them. A Cozart and Andrelton Simmons left side of the diamond was supposed to be special at least defensively. It didn't pan out at all.
Cozart dealt with numerous injuries and was limited to just 96 games in two seasons with the Halos. In those games, he slashed .190/.261/.296 with five home runs and 25 RBI. Unfortunately, the on field production wasn't even the worst part.
Cozart was traded to the Giants in the 2019 offseason along with the remainder of his contract. In order to get the Giants to eat the money, the Halos sent Will Wilson to San Francisco. Wilson was the first round pick of the Angels that season. While he hasn't turned into anything, giving up a prospect of that magnitude just to shed money is horrible asset management.
For the cherry on top, clearing this money allowed the Angels to sign Anthony Rendon, a player you all know will be on this list. It didn't work before, and has looked even worse after.