Cincinnati made Cozart its starter at shortstop the following season, but he didn't truly breakout until 2017. The Angels have formally announced that the franchise has signed veteran infielder Zack Cozart to a three-year deal.
"I've been on some bad teams lately", Cozart said of the Reds, who have lost at least 94 games for three straight years.
After finishing 80-82 last season and missing the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years, the Angels have put together a lineup around Mike Trout with offensive potency and an incredible defensive pedigree.
That was fine with Cozart, even though he has never played third or second in the majors. Eppler has filled both spots impressively by trading for Kinsler after retaining late-season acquisition Upton last month with a $106 million, five-year deal. His 24 home runs were the second highest single-season total by a shortstop in Reds history, trailing only Larkin's 32 homers in 1996.
The Reds are now in a rebuild and chose to not extend Cozart a $17.4 million qualifying offer. While it's understandable for the Reds to be concerned about their payroll, Cozart has been a huge help in the Queen City.
The Reds won't get any draft picks since they didn't make Cozart a qualifying offer.
Cozart can now own the hot corner for the Angels, with Luis Valbuena moving to first on a more full-time basis (where he's better defensively), and their infield now goes Cozart-Andrelton Simmons-Kinsler-Valbuena. Not. Too.
The 31-year-old shortstop has made two playoff appearances in his career, the first coming in the 2012 NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, and the other coming in the 2013 wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cozart's glove is plenty smooth and he's got lots of range.