Royals in retrospect: Parting ways with the “Big Four”
By Jordan Foote
Looking back now, let’s assess the Kansas City Royals’ decision to break up one of the most important cores in franchise history.
Welcome to the Royals in retrospect series. Throughout the offseason, members of the Kings of Kauffman staff will be looking back on historic moments in the Kansas City Royals’ history and deciding whether or not those choices panned out in both the short term and the long run.
The 2017 season was the most recent one in which the Royals had hopes of contending. At the end of that season, the quartet of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar walked off the field to standings ovations, cheers and tears.
Since then, all four have gone on to play for various teams and, in Escobar’s case, various leagues. While it would’ve been nice to see all four remain Royals for the rest of their respective careers, the organization felt it was time to move on. Moustakas and Escobar both played games for the team in 2018, with Cain and Hosmer moving on. Moustakas would go on to join Cain in Milwaukee, then Escobar bounced around a bit and is now not playing in the MLB. Let’s do a deeper dive into each player’s post-Royals career thus far.
Hosmer signed a whopper of a deal in February of 2018, good for eight years and $144 million. The San Diego Padres were hoping to have one of the faces of their franchise but instead, through two seasons, they’ve received average production at best. Hosmer, now 30, should be in the prime of his career. With that said, it appears the Royals dodged a bullet by not winning the winter 2018 bidding war with San Diego.
After playing 98 games with the Royals to start 2018, Moustakas was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s played with them ever since, but is a free agent this offseason. Many are clamoring for a “Moose” reunion, which may not be out of the cards (yet is quite unlikely). He’s still a very good power bat to have in any lineup and has displayed some solid positional versatility as of late.
Cain has continued being Moustakas’ teammate, as he signed with Milwaukee ahead of the 2018 season. His production at the plate took a huge dip this season and at 33 years old, it’s worth being a bit worried about. On the other hand, the two-time All-Star finally won his first Gold Glove in 2019. He should have way more than one, but that’s another story for another day.
Escobar trucked along for 2017 and 2018 with the Royals before the team finally handed the reins to Adalberto Mondesi at shortstop. He spent 96 games with the Chicago White Sox’s AAA affiliate in 2019, hitting .286 with 10 home runs. As of right now, the 32-year-old is a shortstop for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Which players of the “Core Four” do you wish the Royals would have kept? What would you have done differently? Let us know in the comments below!