Former Reds SS Cozart signs with Angels, will likely change position

Cincinnati Reds' Zack Cozart watches a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Chad Kuhl during the third inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Former Reds shortstop Zack Cozart signed with the Los Angeles Angels on Friday the team announced, ending a slim chance he might return to Cincinnati.

Cozart earned free agency status after the 2017 season and he found the market quite dry for his services until the Angels signed him to a three-year, $38 million deal. He is expected to move to third base due to the fact the Angels have 27-year-old Andrelton Simmons playing shortstop. Simmons won the American League Gold Glove at the position in 2017.

Yunel Escobar was the Angels' primary third baseman last season, but he isn't expected to return after struggling with injuries last year.

Cozart, who is 32, is coming off his best offensive season in which he set career highs in batting average (.297), on-base percentage (.385), slugging percentage (.548), home runs (24), runs scored (80), triples (seven) and tied his career high in RBI with 63 and was selected to the All-Star Game for the first time.

In seven seasons in Cincinnati, Cozart finished with a slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) of .254/.305/.411 with 82 homers, 375 runs scored and 280 RBI in 2,767 at bats and 3,028 plate appearances.

Jose Peraza is expected to replace Cozart at shortstop after starting 69 games at second base and 48 at shortstop last season when Cozart missed time due to injury.

A little over a week ago the Angels signed standout Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani and also acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from Detroit.

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