Once upon a time, the relatively small-market Royals couldn’t hold on to many of their own free agents, but now it seems like they’re increasingly able to do so. The team was able to retain fan-favorite Alex Gordon this offseason and the team also inked catcher Salvador Perez to a five-year extension earlier in the week.
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Now, the team has turned its attention to first baseman Eric Hosmer, whom they’re discussing a two-year extension with. If they were able to keep him in place, most of their young core would be in town for a while. Hosmer said he’s open to an extension as long as the team’s nucleus remains in place.
If recent history continues the way it has for Kansas City, that should happen. Currently, the young nucleus is locked down for a decent stretch.
Years young players become free agents:
- 1B Eric Hosmer – 2018 (arbitration eligible in 2017)
- 3B Mike Moustakas – 2018
- SS Alcides Escobar – 2017 (team option for 2017)
- OF Lorenzo Cain – 2018
- SP Yordano Ventura – 2020
It’s clear to see why Hosmer wants to be assured this group will stay together; many of the team’s key players hit free agency by 2018. While it’s unlikely the team can keep all of them, they should be able to retain two out of three between Moustakas, Escobar and Cain.
Keeping two of those players is likely enough to convince Hosmer to stay as well. However, in what way are the Royals supposed to show Hosmer they will be able to re-sign those players? They’re not going to be able to sign everybody to extensions this spring.
Of course, this group loves playing together and they’ve had a great run, but don’t expect anyone to take huge hometown discounts to stay in Kansas City. That’s especially true of Cain, who has become a legitimate MVP candidate over the last year and a half and could get a ton of money on the open market.
As with any team, if the club can keep its nucleus in place, it will stay competitive. For the Royals, part of that nucleus is Hosmer. Both sides are interested in getting a deal done, now the team just needs to show him that his beloved teammates will still be around when his potential extension kicks in after the 2017 season.