Can this former KC Royals star last much longer at Wrigley?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday evening, in a pregame ceremony certain to be the biggest and best of the many May special events at Kauffman Stadium, the KC Royals will honor Lorenzo Cain. Cain, who hasn't played since Milwaukee let him go last summer, will officially retire as a Royal, probably before a packed Kauffman crowd:

Cain, of course, was one of the key core elements of the Kansas City club that won back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015 and the 2015 World Series. There wasn't anything on the field he didn't do well, and he deserved Gold Gloves for his magnificent work in The K's expansive center field long before voters finally deemed him worthy of one in 2019. But by then he was a Brewer.

Count on Saturday's turnout including a legion of former Royals, including teammates who played with Cain during his seven seasons in Kansas City.

One such teammate, however, won't be in attendance. Instead, Eric Hosmer will be some 500 miles away in Chicago where his Cubs will have played Miami earlier in the day.

If, that is, he's still a Cub. His roster status in Chicago may not be solid.

Why? The 2023 chapter of Hosmer's career reads like the last several—production hasn't measured up to what he did in Kansas City, where he won four Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger, clubbed 25 home runs twice and 127 in seven seasons, and hit .284 with a .342 OBP.

Contrast those numbers with what he's done in the five-plus seasons since he elected free agency and left Kansas City for San Diego and $144 million. With the Padres, then the Red Sox and Cubs, he's hit 20 points lower than he did as a Royal, is averaging less than 15 homers per season, and hasn't won a single Gold Glove. San Diego, apparently weary of waiting for a Hosmer resurgence, dealt him to Boston at last summer's trade deadline, but a post-trade back injury limited him to just 14 games. The Sox released him in December and he signed with the Cubs.

Are the former KC Royals fan favorite's days on the North Side numbered?

Hosmer's time with Chicago hasn't been stellar. He's appeared in 26 of the Cubs' 31 games and is hitting .250 with a subpar .294 OBP and only two home runs. Per FanGraphs, his infamously high ground ball rate is still not good (58.6%), his strikeout rate (24.7%) is alarmingly un-Hosmer-like, and his wRC+ is 79.

And some grumbled about Hosmer bunting against Washington in the ninth inning Wednesday night with no one out, the tying run at second and the winning run at first; the play, odd to say the least for a designated hitter, resulted in a force at second, and the runner who moved to third never scored. Ascribing blame to Hosmer, though, is probably wrong—the play was apparently manager David Ross' call, not Hosmer's self-initiated move.

Now, two days later and regardless of who called for Wednesday's bunt, Hosmer has another worry, one that suggests his time at Wrigley Field may be nearing its end. The Cubs called up hot first base prospect Matt Mervis today; although the move didn't immediately change Hosmer's big league roster status, his job could be in danger, especially because his only other position is DH and his bat is the weakest part of his present game.

But whenever and however his career concludes, Hosmer will, like Lorenzo Cain, get his special day at The K, and that's only fitting for the sure future Royals club Hall of Famer.

Next. Catching up with 5 top KC prospects. dark