Los Angeles Angels go big again, sign Zack Cozart

Sep 10 2017 New York City NY USA Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart throws a runner out at first base in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Cozart's offensive numbers shot up markedly last season, but he and the Angels don't see it as a blip.

Cozart is coming off an outstanding season with the Cincinnati Reds, his only previous big-league club.

Angels PR announced the free-agent deal Friday.

Cozart, 32, had the best season of his career in Cincy a year ago, hitting.297 with 24 home runs, 63 RBI and a.548 slugging percentage.

Cozart had an 11-year career in the Reds organization.

Cozart will look to follow up his All-Star campaign in 2017 with Los Angeles, as the Angels continue to make big splashes this winter. The addition of Cozart also likely allows Luis Valbuena to shift across the diamond and become the primary half of a first base platoon with C.J. Cron.

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With just Valbuena on the roster when free agency began for 2B/3B with even bench players for the positions from 2017 hitting the market, the Angels have turned a hole on their team to a surplus right now.

Eppler said Cozart's willingness to change positions assured him "we got the right player from an ability standpoint and a character standpoint". Cozart hit.238/.333/.238 against the Giants in 2012, but only managed to get a walk in the 2013 wild-card game against the Pirates.

The Angels' probable starters include five Gold Glove winners (catcher Martin Maldonado, Simmons, Kinsler, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun) and three more considered well above average with the glove (Upton, Cozart and Trout). He is older than Moustakas, but his contract is a much better deal for the Angels.

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After a few years of toiling in an nearly solo show in the lineup, it sure seems like the Los Angeles Angels on paper will have star Mike Trout surrounded with a much better team in 2018, and much of the team is around for 2019 as well, so this could be a team with a shot to make some noise out west for a couple of years at least.

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