Kansas City Royals: Signing Eric Hosmer and rebuilding is illogical plan

DETROIT, MI - JULY 26: Eric Hosmer
DETROIT, MI - JULY 26: Eric Hosmer /

There have been hints the Kansas City Royals will enter a rebuild this offseason. But to sign Eric Hosmer and still go through with a teardown is nonsensical.

Nobody outside of maybe Dayton Moore and David Glass know what direction the Kansas City Royals will take this offseason. Even they might not know the exact plan until the free agent market starts to play itself out. However, it seems to be increasingly likely that the end result is the franchise going through a rebuild over the coming seasons.

The only caveat would logically be if the team could somehow re-sign Eric Hosmer. That should be enough to keep the team from attempting a full-blown teardown. Unless it’s not. According to the Kansas City Star‘s Rustin Dodd, the Kansas City Royals could attempt a White Sox-style rebuild even with Hosmer on the roster.

It’s a plan that defies logic in virtually every sense of the word. When Chicago began its reclamation project, the team didn’t sign Chris Sale to a massive extension. Instead, they made the smart play and dealt him to Boston. That move will pay dividends, as will subsequent trades with the Nationals and Cubs. That’s how you rebuild.

Why Hosmer on a rebuilding Royals is illogical

To rebuild with Hosmer on the roster would be a disservice to him and the long-term potential of the franchise. The only justification would be to sell tickets during the rebuilding process. That alone isn’t worth it. The ramifications of his presence on a future contender won’t be worth it. By the time the Kansas City Royals are ready to compete, Hosmer will be in his mid-thirties.

It wouldn’t benefit Hosmer either to go through another long, painful rebuild as one of a handful of stars on an otherwise dreadful team. Remember what Mike Sweeney had to endure? He deserved better. Hosmer deserves better. He should have the opportunity to spread his wings and take on a new challenge. If he wants to stay in Kansas City, that’s great and we’ll welcome him back with open arms. But he needs to know what he’s getting himself into.

It’s been written about before in this space that letting Hosmer leave would be the quickest way back to the playoffs. First base is one of the most easily replaceable positions on a baseball team. Just this offseason, there are plenty of worthy fill-ins for Hosmer. That’s not to mention the possibilities in the Kansas City Royals farm system.

Frankly, the only reason to sign Hosmer would be to use him as trade bait down the road when the next core is ready to compete. With the 2017 class looking promising and 2018 likely to provide plenty of top-shelf talent, trading Hosmer could land the last couple of pieces for another pennant-winning side.

Signing Hosmer and aiming to compete

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To be clear, a plan designed around retaining Hosmer and subsequently rebuilding is what makes no sense. The Kansas City Royals could still re-sign Hosmer and attempt to compete. That plan, while still not the best for sustainability, would be welcome news for a fanbase clinging to the hope that the postseason won’t become a distant memory.

Because if Moore and Glass think that keeping Hosmer will be enough to keep fans happy while everyone around him, including Whit Merrifield as Ken Rosenthal reports, is put on the trading block, then they have made a big miscalculation.

As much as lifelong fans will plead for the new wave of Kansas City Royals fans to stay, the truth is many won’t. Not with Mike Moustakas gone. Not with Lorenzo Cain gone. And not with everyone else traded away. That’s OK. The franchise should be doing what is best for the future.

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Shortsightedness was deemed passable during the championship window this club had. But it’s closed now. Signing Hosmer and immediately rebuilding the team won’t bring it back.