Kansas City Royals: Eric Hosmer, Dayton Moore, and Trusting The Process
By Joe Green
At this point, many fans are just plain tired of talking about Eric Hosmer and free agency. His analytics vs. the eye test, whether all players are greedy, overpaid, etc. At some point though, where does “trust” come into play?
Advanced metrics have changed the game, and are certainly worth paying attention to. But here in Kansas City, we know that they are far from a perfect thing.
This causes common questions have circulated the sports world in Kansas City. Should the Royals bring Eric Hosmer back? Is it what’s best for the team? Is it best for him?
“The Money” Reason
First, it’s going to take a lot of time and money to keep Hosmer a Royal. There are conflicting reports about contracts with the Royals. It was rumored that the Royals offered him a seven-year, $147 million contract. A deal that would pay him an average of $21 million a year. Meaning he would be with the team until he is 35 years old. That is not cheap for any team, especially the Royals.
The Royals currently have two bad contracts weighing them down in the persons of Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy. Both of whom have two more years left on their deals, and neither player has been close to worthy of those contracts. That makes some fans skittish.
“The Return” Reason
Hosmer is a different case than both. He plays at a position that does not lead to as much wear and tear on his body. He has generally been a very healthy guy, and he is younger than both Gordon and Kennedy were when they signed.
A lot of fans have taken the “embrace the suck” mentality of tanking to acquire high picks to rebuild a depleted farm system. It is obvious he will sign a deal over $50 million dollars somewhere. Therefore, when it comes to Hosmer, you are getting a sandwich pick between the first and second round. In the grand scheme of things, that is not much. In baseball, prospects and draft picks are far from the type of certainties that they usually are in the NFL or NBA.
“The Player” Reason
We all remember Dayton Moore repeating the mantra of “trust the process.” He took a farm system that was known as a joke throughout baseball and turned it into two pennants and a World Series. Hosmer was one of those picks.
If you recall, you know Hosmer came up big in those playoff runs. Runs-batted-in (RBI) is an overused statistic, but not one that should be dismissed altogether. Hosmer is the Royals all-time postseason RBI leader. Yes, he had more games than George Brett, but the point stands.
We can all picture any number of plays he was involved with in those two postseasons. The triple in the Wild Card game. The homer that broke the Anaheim Angels back. The double off Matt Harvey that apparently killed Harvey’s career. The mad dash in the 2015 World Series.
In other words, Hosmer shines brightly when the biggest moments occur. In addition to his postseason heroics, he beat out Paul Goldschmidt for the starting job in the World Baseball Classic. There, he proved he was worthy of the spot with an impressive showing that led Team USA to victory.
He has won four Gold Gloves, even though the best defensive metrics we currently have gives us the indication that he is overrated with the glove. He is a Silver Slugger, and an All-Star MVP.
“The Dayton Moore” Reason
The “embrace the suck” crowd is dismissing, or not thinking about, the fact that the architect of those pennant-winning teams is still here. He has seen Hosmer as “the guy” for several years. Signing him just keeps the team from getting a 1A type draft pick that may never even reach the big leagues (we see you, Bubba Starling).
On top of that, 2017 was the year that Hosmer put it all together, having his best individual season. Even with a ground ball rate that’s still too high, he still posted career numbers. He may just be unlocking the superstar talent he was always believed to have. At worst, he seems likely to continue being an above-average player.
Moore’s record of success should earn him some goodwill in his pursuit of Hosmer. Hosmer most certainly passes the fabled “eye test,” and is seen by Moore as the most important Royal since Brett. That’s not something to ignore.
A deal for Hosmer does not really block anyone, either. The current plan without Hosmer would be to try Hunter Dozier at first,. He is far from a “can’t miss” prospect and would be playing out of position.
Hopeful prospect Nick Pratto is most likely four years away as well. Even if he earns the job when Hosmer is 34-35, the Royals could still use Hosmer as a designated hitter.
To me, I harken back to Moore telling us all to “trust the process”. It paid off with a World Championship. He is now telling us to embrace a rebuild that centers around Hosmer. I’d say he has earned our trust.
Not only does it keep one of the all-time great Royals in Kansas City, it gives Hosmer a chance to build a legacy that not many players get these days. A long, championship-winning career in one jersey, in one city does not happen often. It’s time to make Eric Hosmer truly “Forever Royal.”
So what do you think Royals fans? Has Dayton Moore done enough to earn our trust? Should we believe in what Moore wants to do with the team? Let us know your thoughts!