Cozart injured his left shoulder while making a diving catch on June 13, which forced him to leave the game. He was placed on the disabled list and has been out since then. Cozart went for a second opinion on his shoulder, which is when the surgery recommendation was made.
Cozart was a big free agent signing by the Angels over the offseason. He was signed to a three-year, $38 million deal and asked to move from shortstop to third base. He was batting .219/.296/.362 in 58 games with his new team. Luis Valbuena has been seeing action at third with Cozart out.
Los Angeles Angels third baseman Zack Cozart was critical of the Tampa Bay Rays for utilizing an interesting strategy against them.
The Rays started relief pitcher Sergio Romo in both Saturday and Sunday’s games. On Saturday, Romo struck out the first three batters he faced. The Rays then had starter Ryan Yarbrough begin his outing in the second. He pitched well for 6.1 innings, and the Rays won 5-3.
On Sunday, Romo began the game against the Angels. He went 1.1 innings, walking two and striking out three. The Rays used two more relievers after Romo and ended the game with Anthony Banda, who often starts/makes longer appearances. This time the Angels won the game 5-2.
Cozart walked and struck out in his two at-bats against Romo. Afterwards, he called the Rays’ strategy “weird” and said it was bad for the game.
“It was weird…it’s bad for baseball, in my opinion…It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it,” Cozart said, via The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya.
The Rays used the strategy because Romo is particularly effective against right-handed hitters. The Angels’ best batters are right-handed — Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons — so the strategy works well against them. You could try to counter the move by putting left-handed batters at the top of the lineup, but the Angels don’t have many options. Their only lefty batters are Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena, and Shohei Ohtani when he’s in the lineup. Calhoun is only hitting .161 this season, so putting him at the top just to counter Romo might actually backfire.
The strategy might not be orthodox, but there’s nothing in the rules against it. Maybe it’s a sign to the Angels to add a left-handed bat.
That was Cozart’s only hit of the game, but it could not have been more valuable. It’s his second home run of the season, as he also went deep in the team’s opener. Cozart is batting .273 with a .920 OPS this season — his first with the Angels.
Shohei Ohtani slugged a 2-run home run off Corey Kluber in the game to help tie it at two, which was the score when it headed to extras until Cozart’s homer won it 3-2.
Cozart played shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds last season, but he will move to third with the Angels, who already have a Gold Glove winner in Andrleton Simmons at short. L.A. also acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler in a trade with the Detroit Tigers recently, so they should have one of the best infields in baseball.
Cozart, 32, had the best season of his career in Cincy last year, hitting .297 with 24 home runs, 63 RBI and a .548 slugging percentage.
Pretty much every MLB team will have to deal with the reality that a few of their players are headed to free agency. For many teams, the ability to keep all their players is just not feasible. In some cases, they will be losing role players or guys who were on short-term contracts. Others, though, are watching as franchise players and integral parts of organizations head into the free agent market, possibly for greener pastures.
Here’s a look at one important free agent from each team who played at least some part in their 2017 campaign.
Arizona Diamondbacks — J.D. Martinez, outfielder
He was only a Diamondback for a little over two months, but what an impact Martinez had. He took advantage of the friendly hitting environment to smack 29 home runs in 62 games, powering the Diamondbacks to the NLDS along the way. He’ll probably prove too expensive for Arizona to retain him, and they have bigger needs to fill anyway, but he won’t be easily forgotten. Martinez is said to be seeking a $200 million contract. Arizona will be weaker next season without his power, even if his tenure was a brief one.
Atlanta Braves — R.A. Dickey, pitcher
With only two free agents, Atlanta doesn’t have much to deal with in terms of departures. The team decided not to pick up the 43-year-old pitcher’s option for 2018, and Dickey may be considering retirement. His importance lies in the position he plays; in terms of ERA, he was the Braves’ best starting pitcher at 4.26. The Braves will be searching for someone established to replace him — their pitching disappointed last season, and they may think they have an outside chance of making a run in 2018.
There are some pretty standard names if you look near the top of the MLB statistical leaderboards two weeks into the season. Bryce Harper, Ryan Braun, Francisco Lindor, and Freddie Freeman are all pretty big stars who have gotten off to good starts.
However, there are a few other names on that list who, at first glance, don’t seem to belong in the same category as those star players. The numbers don’t lie, though.
These five players may not have big names, but they’ve definitely been among the most successful players early on in 2017. Here’s a look at five surprise players who have gotten off to great starts this season.
5) Zack Cozart, SS, Reds
Cozart is a seven-year big league veteran with a reputation as a light hitter and a solid defender. His career batting average through 2016 stood at .246, and his lifetime on-base percentage is below .300. He’s there as a solid, steady presence, particularly in the field.
So imagine how surprised the Cincinnati Reds must be to find Cozart leading the National League in hitting in mid-April.
The shortstop is off to a 16-for-37 start, good for a .432 average, and his .488 OBP is also a league best. Cozart also has a remarkable three triples, which paces the league and gives him a slugging percentage of .730. Six of his 16 hits have been for extra bases, in fact. None of it has translated to a lot of runs scored or RBIs — this is a guy who’s populating the part of the lineup generally reserved for pitchers and weak-hitting regulars — but the Reds must be pleasantly shocked by Cozart’s success at the plate.