KC Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has just demonstrated why the current sabermetric projections about the 2016 Royals are a joke. His clear signal that the team values winning over money shows exactly what systems like PECOTA, ZiPs, and Steamer are missing about the 2016 Kansas City Royals.
They’re a team of guys that value winning over everything else—including money.
Hosmer has long been presumed to leave in free-agency after the 2017 season. On Monday, however, he told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that he plays to win championships when asked if he would consider a long-term deal with the Kansas City Royals.
You can read the full quote below:
"“I don’t play this game to be in commercials for hair products. I’m playing to try to win championships. Sure you want to give yourself the best opportunity in terms of financially, but at the same time, you want to give yourself the best chance to get to the playoffs.“If this group stays together, the best opportunity is right here.”"
Eric Hosmer couldn’t send a stronger signal that he’s willing to give the KC Royals a hometown discount if general manager Dayton Moore keeps the team together.
Cynics might dismiss such selfless proclamations as the telegenic Hosmer simply saying nice things to please the home crowd. However, you have to take Hosmer’s assertions seriously after left fielder Alex Gordon lived up to his 2014 statements that he wanted to stay in Kansas City by signing a four-year contract for a reasonable $72 million. Many analysts believed Gordon left significant money on the table.
Add in indications that the KC Royals might be willing to renegotiate catcher Salvador Perez‘s ridiculous bargain of a contract (which now is a massive underpay), and bring back injured closer Greg Holland, you have to conclude that both the front office, and the players, are willing to sacrifice to keep the team together.
It’s rare enough in the current sports environment to see one player take a hometown discount due to loyalty. But if the rest of the Kansas City Royals follow the lead of Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer, we’d have an entire team making such a decision. Such a choice would be even more improbable than their eight comeback wins during the 2015 playoffs—or even the 2015 World Series title.
I think fans across America can safely laugh at Fangraphs.com’s projection that the 2016 KC Royals are the worst team in American League, and their estimate that the Royals have a “true talent” level of 77 wins.
General Manager Dayton Moore’s team continues to show that chemistry counts.