Cincinnati Reds lose shortstop Zack Cozart to the Los Angeles Angels

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds were hoping that Zack Cozart would come back, but the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas.

At the end of the 2017 season the Cincinnati Reds did not make Zack Cozart a qualifying offer.  The hope that he would come back didn’t come true.  Instead,  the Los Angeles Angels signed Cozart to play third base for them.

Because they didn’t make a qualifying offer, the Reds get nothing in return for Cozart.  The deal is for three years at $38-million.  That’s about $20-million more than it would have cost the Reds to keep him for one year.

Perhaps the more interesting aspect here is that Cozart, among the best defensive shortstops in the game, will play third base for the Angels.  His glove will undoubtedly transfer, but his positioning and other intangibles may not.  Cozart also doesn’t produce like a corner infielder.

The Angels are having the off-season that the Reds wanted to have.  They signed Shohei Ohtani from Japan.  They also added Ian Kinsler with the Detroit Tigers receiving a pair of young prospects.

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The Angels are building a team around Mike Trout, while the Reds are letting their generational superstar, first baseman Joey Votto, age in place.  The Angels are going for it, while the Reds are doing a traditional rebuild.  Part of that is not outbidding the Angels for Cozart.

With Zack Cozart gone, the Cincinnati Reds turn the shortstop position over to Jose Peraza.

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The Reds acquired Jose Peraza along with outfield Scott Schebler in the Todd Fraizer deal.  Peraza was the opening day second baseman in 2017.  He lost that job to Scooter Gennett, but had plenty of time at shortstop last season.

In the second half of 2016 Peraza had an offensive explosion as a bench player.  In 2017 Peraza was inconsistent offensively.  That may cause the Reds to look for a short-term option at shortstop in case Peraza can’t carry the every day load after getting a sample in 2017.

The free agency market has matured enough that players the Reds are targeting will sign soon.  Eduardo Nunez has been linked to the Boston Red Sox where he ended last year.  That may drive the Reds to a lesser offensive player like Danny Espinosa.

Next: Andrew Benintendi to Cincinnati?

Cozart and the Reds had a good ride, capping it off with an All-Star season in 2017.  They missed out on a storybook ending that everyone in Cincinnati wanted to see.  At least 2018 should be an improvement for both sides.