Eric Hosmer is an All-Star, one of the best first basemen in the game.
Hosmer supposedly played his final game as a Kansas City Royal last year. Who will ever forget when he joined fellow free agents-to-be Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jason Vargas for that unforgettable photo op during the final game of the season that had Royals fans in tears because it was a signal the team was breaking up.
But hold on just a second.
For whatever reason, the market for Hosmer has been lukewarm. Talk of a 10-year and $200 million contract has become dust in the wind. Expected contenders New York and Boston have looked elsewhere for first basemen. Texas has been eerily quiet and the rumors of Hosmer to Seattle have subsided. San Diego allegedly is making a big push, but c'mon, San Diego? The Padres are rebuilding as much as the Royals.
So why is the expected Hosmer hullabaloo rivaling the sound of crickets?
He's 28 years old and in the prime of his career. He has played on a World Series champion and been in the Series another year. He's been an All-Star Game MVP. He's durable, left-handed (that really matters for a first baseman as most teams want a lefty) and flush with a positive attitude that is infectious.
His detractors say they are always left with wanting for more. They see his size and powerful swing and wonder why he doesn't hit 35 to 40 homers a year (do you think cavernous Kauffman Stadium might have something to do with it?)
According to reports, stat geeks have indicated Hosmer hits the ball on the ground as much as any slugger in the game. He also doesn't pull the ball very often, as most of his homers are to center and left field. Could you imagine him at Fenway Park banging line drive after line drive off the Green Monster? The guy could probably hit 55 doubles in a season and put a hole in the wall.
Also, while Hosmer has soft hands and has saved his infielders countless errors over the years with his scooping ability, there reportedly are claims he doesn't have great range to his right. If that's the leading reason he's not getting more offers, then teams are being mighty picky.
Of all the Royals' free agents, I thought Hosmer would command the most interest and be the first to leave. I was for sure the Yankees and Red Sox would get into a bidding war, with his agent Scott Boras watching his cut of the pie going up and up.
Maybe it's a Royals thing. Mike Moustakas was thought to be a lock for the Angels, but they traded for Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cosart and announced he would move to third base. I can't imagine the Angels wanting two third basemen, especially with the money Moustakas should receive. The Giants desperately need a third baseman, but Moustakas strikes me as an American League guy. He's 29 now and you wonder how much longer his body will hold up. He could play third base for three or four more years, then become a DH.
From my research, it's also been quiet on the Cain front. The New York Mets were in play allegedly and Toronto also has shown some interest. As for Escobar and Vargas, I haven't found any stories linking them to teams.
So maybe the Royals won't lose all of their stars. I would still like to see them bring back Melky Cabrera on a one-year deal, even if to DH. He's a professional hitter and good guy to have on a club.
Of course, though, the Royals want to pare payroll in a big way. Those championship runs in 2014 and 2015 broke the bank, but I don't think David Glass — given his net worth — is probably hurting.