The San Francisco Giants didn’t lose a single baseball game with Zack Cozart on their roster. Not a damn one.
So you’re forgiven if you’re filled with rage that the team went and designated Cozart for assignment.
Speaking of forgiveness, please forgive my overplayed, not funny at all joke. I’m trying to shake off the rust, I promise.
On Monday, the Giants designated Cozart for assignment, to clear room on the 40-man roster for Jake Jewell. Jewell was claimed off of waivers after being dumped by the Los Angeles Angels.
OFFICIAL: #SFGiants have claimed right-handed pitcher Jake Jewell off waivers from the Angels. To make room for Jewell on the 40-man roster, IF Zack Cozart has been designated for assignment.— SFGiants (@SFGiants) January 13, 2020
Cozart was acquired in mid-December from those same Angels. San Francisco absorbed Cozart’s large contract for the right to acquire exciting infield prospect Will Wilson. The Giants also shipped off a player to be named later. Indeed named later, that player proved to be Garrett Williams.
Giants announced that they acquired infielders Zack Cozart and Will Wilson from the Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Wilson was a first-round pick and was Angels’ 4th best prospect. Giants basically bought him, which they’re in a good position to do.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) December 10, 2019
The team’s intentions for Cozart were not entirely clear until Monday. While he and his $12.7 million owed in 2020 were clearly the cost of acquiring Wilson, rather than an asset, it didn’t seem far-fetched that the Giants would hope he could be a flippable reclamation project.
Cozart was awful in 2019, slashing .124/.178/.144 in 107 plate appearances. He wasn’t much better the year prior, when he hit .219/.296/.362 in 253 plate appearances. But in 2017 he hit .297/.385/.548, good for 5.0 fWAR and a spot in the All-Star game.
The Giants don’t particularly have intentions of competing in 2020, but they do hope to shine light on a few veterans who can then be traded. It’s why they signed Drew Pomeranz last year, and now they have Mauricio Dubon to show for it. It’s why they signed Kevin Gausman this year.
But Cozart was not deemed worth taking that chance on. Perhaps it’s because he’s only had one strong season in his career, or perhaps it’s because he almost exclusively plays third base, where they already have an expensive veteran. Or perhaps it’s because it simply wasn’t worth giving valuable infield reps to a reclamation project, when there are interesting prospects in the pipeline.
Or maybe all three.
Either way, the Cozart era is over. He never played a game for San Francisco, but he represented the team’s willingness to spend money to acquire prospects. And that’s a good thing.