KC Royals Potential Departures, Vol. 5: Eric Hosmer
Hosmer is already rebounding nicely from his disastrous start to the season and will undoubtedly settle into a .275/20 homer/85 RBI season—typical Hosmer.
And he’s not yet 28 years old. He’s still got a few prime years left. Investing in Eric Hosmer is not the problem.
The problem is investing heavily in the traditional corner-position slugger.
Look at the best first basemen in baseball; I’m talking the truly elite. They all have a trait that separates them:
Paul Goldschmidt is a 30-30 threat.
Joey Votto is an OBP machine.
Freddie Freeman refuses to strike out.
Miguel Cabrera is a hitting savant, no different than Mozart composing or Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet.
The next tier is a bizarre combination of one-trick mashers (Chris Davis, Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion) and guys who derive more value for their current franchise than they would for another (Brandon Belt, Wil Myers, Joe Mauer). Anthony Rizzo is heading squarely for the former one day, mark my words.
Well, here’s the top-10 first basemen by salary this season:
- Cabrera, $28 million
- Mauer, $23 million
- Adrian Gonzalez, $22.4 million
- Votto, $22 million
- Davis, $21.1 million
- Freeman, $20.9 million
- Encarnacion, $14.7 million
- Yulieski Gurriel, $14.4 million
- Ryan Zimmerman, $14 million
- Hosmer, $12.3 million
Votto, Cabrera and Freeman are paid like elite players (that Goldschmidt makes less than $10 million a year is practically a war crime); Mauer and Davis are valued by their teams but wouldn’t sniff that kind of money from anyone else.
Adrian Gonzalez got capital-P Paid ages ago in the “all mashing first basemen get $20 million a year, no exceptions” era.
And after that, there is a significant drop off in pay. First basemen are not making bank like they were even a decade ago. Outside the top-10 or so, first basemen are essentially interchangeable in modern baseball; hit decently, field your position and you can carve out a decade-long career.
In related news, Eric Hosmer is 13th in fWAR among first basemen (3.1) since the start of 2015.
Ties to other organizations or areas of the country?
Hosmer is from Miami. That would be something to worry about, but that organization is such a dumpster fire that Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush had to form some kind of Wonder Twins Activation Power technique to rescue the organization from Satan Jeffrey Loria. I wouldn’t want any part of that, but Hosmer stands to make more in one paycheck than I will in my life so I’m in no position to judge.