The Giants have acquired infielder Zack Cozart and minor-league shortstop Will Wilson, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 draft, from the Angels in exchange for cash or a player to be named later. The teams announced the deal, which was first reported by The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya, late Tuesday afternoon:
The Angels have traded Zack Cozart and Will Wilson to the Giants for cash and a PBTNL, source tells The Athletic.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) December 10, 2019
Per Ardaya’s report, the Giants will pick up the remaining $12.67 million on the final season of the 34-year-old Cozart’s contract, which seemingly would eliminate the possibility of a player eventually being sent to the Angels. This very easily could be a case where the Giants release Cozart before he ever plays a game for them, as the Giants are buying a premium prospect for $12 million more than anything else with this deal.
The 21-year-old Wilson, a right-handed hitting shortstop out of North Carolina State, was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the Angels organization by MLB Pipeline. He’ll settle in as the 10th-ranked prospect in a Giants system that is suddenly among the better ones in baseball. Wilson hit .315/.394/.584 over a three-year career at NC State, including a .339/.429/.665 slash line with 16 homers over 261 plate appearances in his final collegiate season. He hit .275/.328/.439 with five homers over 204 PAs for the Advanced Rookie League Orem Owlz this past summer. Wilson played both middle-infield positions at Orem, and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Tuesday that he’ll continue playing both positions in the Giants’ system.
Cozart, a 2017 All-Star who signed a three-year deal with the Angels prior to the 2018 season, had the worst season of his major-league career in ‘19, hitting .124/.178/.144 (good for a -12 OPS+) with no homers in 107 plate appearances, missing extended time due to a neck strain and left shoulder inflammation. He didn’t play after May 26 due to the shoulder injury, which required surgery. He posted a disastrous .190/.261/.296 slash line over two seasons in an Angels uniform.
While Cozart won’t be counted on as a key contributor in San Francisco, manager Gabe Kapler praised his defensive ability on Tuesday night and made it sound like he’ll at least get a chance to earn a job on the Giants’ roster. Cozart has spent most of his major-league career as a shortstop but also saw time at third base and second base during his time with the Angels, so he has the versatility to be a utility player. But the Giants will probably lean on Mauricio Dubón as their primary second baseman and continue to give Brandon Crawford at least some time at shortstop, so Cozart may have to unseat Donovan Solano — who hit .330 with an .815 OPS in 2019 — in order to earn a backup job.