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Royals expect players to reach free agency, have “slow played” Hosmer

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Jon Heyman with the latest on Royals free agents.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals expect all four of their positional player free agents - Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Alcides Escobar - to reach free agency, according to FanRag reporter Jon Heyman. He adds that they Hosmer is the free agent they would most like to keep, but that they have yet to make a serious offer due to what they expect to be a high price and have “slow played” negotiations.

Hosmer previously said he was negotiating with the Royals back in February, but that talks would end once the season began. According to Heyman, the team expects Hosmer to seek a ten-year deal. Agent Scott Boras has compared Hosmer to superstar free agents like Mark Teixeira, even floating a $200 million number which seems ludicrous. Despite a recent hot streak, Eric Hosmer has been one of the worst-hitting regular first basemen in the last calendar year.

The Royals reportedly think Hosmer is worth more than Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, despite Belt putting up better offensive numbers. Belt signed a six-year, $79 million contract extension in 2016. Although the Royals have gotten along well with Boras in the past, owner David Glass traded barbs with the super-agent in the press earlier this year.

Heyman also writes that the Royals would be interested in bringing back Mike Moustakas, and even Alcides Escobar “at the right price.” Escobar is having a career-worst season, and the Royals have top prospect Raúl Mondesí waiting in the wings, so a reunion with Esky doesn’t make much sense. However, the rumor echoes what was written by Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo, so perhaps the Royals would like Escobar to take a reserve role or would move him or Mondesí to second base. Heyman reports that Escobar once sought a $10 million-per-year deal, but that he would likely have to settle for a much lower contract after a rough offensive season.

According to Heyman, the Red Sox and Angels are expected to pursue Moustakas. Kansas City Star writer Sam Mellinger recently wrote that he didn’t expect Moustakas to sign a long-term deal before free agency, suggesting that the Angels could be a fit. Heyman also writes that the Royals like Lorenzo Cain, but expect him to be out of their price range. Cain could seek a deal similar to that of Dexter Fowler, who received a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Cardinals. However Cain will be a year older than Fowler was when he reaches free agency, has a higher injury track record, and has seen his power drop off precipitously.

Heyman also lists Hosmer among the top players who could be traded this summer, along with Kelvin Herrera, Jason Vargas, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Joakim Soria, and even Mike Minor. Heyman misrepresents the draft pick compensation the Royals could receive for those players - they can still get a first round compensatory pick if the player receives a $50 million contract.

He writes the Royals “could get a haul back” for Herrera, who he calls one of the most under-rated relievers. He does list Vargas very high, despite a hot start, arguing that soft-tossing lefties “don’t usually bring back what you’d think”. He also quotes a “rival GM” as saying Cain and Herrera could be packaged together in a trade to Washington. We recently looked a potential packages the Royals could expect from the Nationals.