Eric Hosmer has certainly burst onto the national spotlight with his famous run home in last year's World Series, his appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and his recent All-Star Game MVP performance this week. His fantastic first-half has fueled discussion on whether he will stay in Kansas City past next year, when his contract expires.
Reporter Jon Heyman, known for his close relationship with Hosmer's agent, Scott Boras reports that the Royals are not optimistic they can get a deal done with Hosmer. Heyman details some of the negotiation parameters in his latest column for Today's Knuckleball.
Hosmer’s camp isn’t tipping their hand, but Royals brass, which stepped up with a $70-milllion deal for free agent pitcher Ian Kennedy and $72 million for another core star Alex Gordon, seems to have an idea Hosmer could be seeking $20-million plus per year on a 10-year deal.
That seems like a rather large deal for a player who has never hit 20 home runs, never led the league in any offensive category, and made his first All-Star team this year. Here is a list of players that have received $200 million contracts: Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, David Price, Clayton Kershaw, Prince Fielder, Max Scherzer, and Zack Greinke.
Hosmer does have age on his side, as he will be just 28 years old when he hits free agency, very young for a free agent. It is not unreasonable he could land a seven or eight-year contract worth close to $20 million per year. Boras seems to be banking on Hosmer's youth when he says:
"The premium associated with 27-year-olds are very different than metrics associated with 32-year-olds, especially when it’s a widely known Gold Glove franchise-type player who also has the ability to perform at extremely high levels in big situations and on big stages. You’d have everything you’d want in a free agent Eric Hosmer."
Heyman cites Brandon Belt, who recently signed a five-year, $75 million deal as a comp, but notes that Hosmer brings defense and his "dynamic clubhouse role" as reasons Hosmer could get much more.
The article also notes that the Royals have had "preliminary talks" with Lorenzo Cain on a contract extension, but have only "tip-toed" around numbers. He notes the Royals have enjoyed greater revenues and are now in the middle of the pack in Major League Baseball financially. Heyman also cites some opposing executives who think the Royals could begin trading players this winter to begin a rebuild if they see the window closing.