SAN DIEGO -- The Angels cleared some payroll Tuesday in potential anticipation for big-money free-agent signings, and it cost them a notable prospect to do it.Los Angeles traded 2019 first-rounder Will Wilson along with Major League infielder Zack Cozart to the Giants for a player to be named later or
SAN DIEGO -- The Angels cleared some payroll Tuesday in potential anticipation for big-money free-agent signings, and it cost them a notable prospect to do it.
Los Angeles traded 2019 first-rounder Will Wilson along with Major League infielder Zack Cozart to the Giants for a player to be named later or cash considerations, the clubs announced at the Winter Meetings. On Thursday, San Francisco sent its former No. 29 prospect, Garrett Williams, the other way.
Wilson finished the season as the Angels' No. 4 prospect, according to MLB.com. The 21-year-old shortstop was taken with the 15th overall pick in June out of North Carolina State, where he hit .339/.429/.665 with 16 homers as a junior in the spring. Wilson signed for $3.4 million, just below the $3.89 million assigned to his slot. He spent all of 2019 with Rookie Advanced Orem, where he produced a .275/.328/.439 line with five homers, three triples and 10 doubles over 46 games.
The North Carolina native doesn't have a plus tool on his scouting report, but is considered to be average across the board. His power stood out during his time in college, especially for a shortstop, as he combined to belt 31 homers in his final two seasons. Defensively, he has the reactions and arm to stick at shortstop long-term, and that would add to his value. That said, his below-average speed could move him away from the premium spot down the line. He made 13 starts at second base during his time in the Pioneer League.
Wilson joins a San Francisco system that already boasts Marco Luciano (No. 61 overall) as its top shortstop prospect. However, the former Wolf Pack star is seen as more advanced right now than his 18-year-old counterpart.
The Angels were willing to part with Wilson because of the Giants' agreement to take on all of the $12.67 million owed to Cozart in 2020 before he hits free agency. The 34-year-old infielder was limited by a left-shoulder injury and subsequent surgery and played only 38 games for Los Angeles in 2019, hitting only .124 with a .322 OPS in that span. He was a potential third-base option for the Angels going into 2020, but that won't be the case in San Francisco, where Evan Longoria mans the hot corner.
By getting Cozart's contract off their books, the Angels could use that money toward free-agent targets. The organization is rumored to be circling right-hander Gerrit Cole and third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Williams, a 25-year-old southpaw, went 7-8 with a 3.60 ERA, 108 strikeouts and 61 walks in 110 innings for Double-A Richmond this year.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.