Yesterday, it was announced that the Royals avoided arbitration with Eric Hosmer, Luke Hochevar and Emilio Bonifacio, agreeing to one year contracts with each player. With Bonifacio and Hochevar entering their final year before free agency, neither seemingly appear to be players that the Royals consider vital parts of their future. However, the same cannot be said for Hosmer.
In avoiding arbitration, Hosmer is now slated to earn $3.6 Million, with the potential to $50,000 should he make the All-Star team. Based on how he performed overall during the regular season, putting together a .302/.353/.448 batting line with 17 home runs while playing Gold Glove defense, that contract is certainly a bargain for the Royals. When looking at Hosmer’s performance over the final four months of 2013, a .318/.367/.494 batting line and 16 home runs, that salary seems like an even bigger bargain for the Royals than it had before.
Along with Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer is likely to be one of the main cornerstones for the Royals to build upon over the next few years. Perez, who may already be the top full time catcher in the American League, is locked up through the 2019 season. Although Hosmer is not eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season, it may make sense to approach him about an extension.
Yes, there is certainly risk in signing a 24 year old player to a long term deal. Injuries, ineffectiveness and/or an inability to fully tap into any of the potential that had been displayed can all rear their head. Likewise, for the player, it is a risk as well. Should they blossom into a perennial All-Star, there is money left on the table. Yet, if an injury does occur, or they do not become the player that the team envisioned, at least they have financial security.
If the Royals want to look into an extension with Eric Hosmer, this may be the perfect time. Perhaps the Royals could offer Hosmer a contract that takes him through arbitration and a couple of years into free agency, giving them the potential of having two dynamic young hitters to build their lineup around. With the plethora of talent on the way, Hosmer could be a major part in ushering in a new era of Kansas City Royals baseball.
The biggest obstacle to such an extension may be the fact that Hosmer’s agent is none other than Scott Boras. Boras loves going step by step through the arbitration process, attempting to earn every last cent for his clients before heading to free agency. For a team such as the Royals, Boras is essentially Public Enemy #1. However, he has had players sign the occasional extension, and if Hosmer truly wants to stay in Kansas City, Boras may have to come to the negotiating table.
Eric Hosmer may be on the verge of being the player the Royals envisioned that he would be. If possible, this is the time to try to lock him up with an extension.