CINCINNATI -- Shortstop Zack Cozart's finest season with the Reds in 2017 proved, as expected, to be his final one. On Friday, the free agent Cozart agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Angels to be their new third baseman. The deal is worth a reported $38 million.The
CINCINNATI -- Shortstop Zack Cozart's finest season with the Reds in 2017 proved, as expected, to be his final one. On Friday, the free agent Cozart agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Angels to be their new third baseman. The deal is worth a reported $38 million.
The Reds had planned on going with 23-year-old Jose Peraza at shortstop in 2018, but were open to the idea of Cozart returning if he didn't find a good deal elsewhere. But he did so, clearing the way for Peraza -- acquired from the Dodgers along with OF Scott Schebler two years ago -- to take over as the Reds' starting shortstop.
Peraza batted .259/.297/.324 with five home runs and 37 RBIs in 143 games in 2017. He really took off over his final 48 games, batting .293 with a .361 on-base percentage, as he became more selective at the plate.
As the Reds found last offseason when trying to trade Cozart before he hit the open market, there is low demand for shortstops in the Major Leagues. The only team that was connected to Cozart in Hot Stove rumors this offseason was the Padres, and they acquired Freddy Galvis in a trade with the Phillies moments before Cozart's deal was announced.
The Angels already have an excellent defensive shortstop in Andrelton Simmons, which will force Cozart's shift to a new position. He has never played third base in the Majors or Minors.
Cozart, 32, batted .297/.385/.548 with a career-high 24 home runs and 63 RBIs last season, while also playing superb defense. He was elected to his first All-Star Game as a starter. His production continued amid a nagging right quadriceps injury suffered in June, which dogged him to the end of the year.
From 2011-16, Cozart batted .246/.289/.385 and missed most of the '15 season and the beginning of '16 with a right knee injury that required surgery. He was a respected team leader for Cincinnati and well regarded in the clubhouse.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.