Veteran infielder Zack Cozart has cashed in after his breakout 2017 season by signing a three-year, $38 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
Cozart was a part of the rise in power across Major League Baseball last season. The 32-year-old set career highs with a .297 average, .385 on-base percentage .548 slugging percentage and 24 home runs.
For his efforts in 2017, Cozart was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time. He has been hit by injuries throughout his career, especially since 2015 when he tore ligaments in his knee after his foot slipped off the first base bag in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, ending his season after 53 games.
Injuries have also cost Cozart 81 games combined over the past two seasons. He admitted being a free agent for the first time in his career was a different feeling.
"I've thought about it," he told MLB.com's John Fay in August. "To be honest with you, the thing I keep thinking about is how weird it's going to be to not be affiliated with a team. Usually, I'm in contact with [strength and conditioning coach] Sean Marohn and getting my workout schedule. I'll probably stick to whatever workout routine I've done."
With the Reds still in rebuilding mode after losing 94 games last season, Cozart was able to find a situation that can get him back into a playoff race. He's going to provide a huge boost to the Angels' lineup as long as his body holds up.
There's more inherent risk in a long-term deal with Cozart than a normal free agent, but he proved in 2017 how valuable his bat can be.
He'll likely slot in at third base in L.A. to create a potent infield alongside shortstop Andrelton Simmons, recently acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler and the first baseman C.J. Cron.