There has been more speculation involving Hosmer’s contract than almost any other free agent this offseason. He falls somewhere among the top five free agents on the market, alongside the likes of J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish. Other than the Kansas City Royals, who seem to be extremely interested in retaining him, Boston has been the destination mentioned most often since the season has ended.
However, the team could decide Martinez makes more sense to sign. Hosmer holds a major advantage in age (28 years old to 30). But Martinez didn’t receive a qualifying offer (because he wasn’t eligible for one) like Hosmer, meaning signing the first baseman would cost the team a draft pick and international signing pool money.
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The Red Sox dropping out of the running would be a huge boon to the Kansas City Royals. However, the other side of that happening — while still preferred — could lead to other teams trying to swoop in and grab Hosmer for cheap. A small difference in contract terms works in the Royals’ favor, though.
At that point, it might come down to the number of years the team is willing to offer. A seven-year deal (or greater) would almost certainly be enough to land Hosmer, regardless of who offers it. The problem is that most teams will be reluctant to offer that kind of guarantee to a player who offers what Hosmer does. He’s never hit more than 25 home runs, only driven in more than 100 runs once and only hit over .300 twice. Despite winning four Gold Gloves, his defense has been questioned extensively by different metrics.
No matter how fans feel about Hosmer, MLB teams seem increasingly unlikely to invest over $150 in a player with those detractions. Now, you may have noticed a pattern in regards to contract years, on the preceding pages. So why go away from that now? The dollar amount for Hosmer is definitely the toughest thing to predict in all of this. But it’s not a stretch to assume he’ll earn at least a couple million more dollars per year than the others.
Verdict: six-year, $130 million contract
What do you think, fans? How do you see free agency playing out? Will the market help or hurt the Kansas City Royals and their free agents? Let us know your thoughts.