The Eric Hosmer saga is finally over, but more details are emerging on just how negotiations went down in what has been a very odd off-season. According to FanRag reporter Jon Heyman, Hosmer received no offers at all until the first of the year, then received nearly identical offers from both the Padres and Royals within the same hour.
The San Diego Padres called with a $134 million, seven-year offer; the Kansas City Royals called with a $131 million, seven-year offer offer – though K.C.’s bid was contingent on ownership approval that never came.
While Padres owner Ron Fowler went public with his desire to bring Eric Hosmer to Kansas City, Royals owner David Glass got cold feet. Glass never authorized the large contract, and the Royals’ offer shrunk to five-years, $100 million, according to FanRag reporter Robert Murray. The Padres eventually signed Hosmer to a front-loaded eight-year, $144 million deal with an opt-out after five-years.
You might understand why David Glass was reluctant to go as high as a seven-year deal with Hosmer, considering how poorly the two biggest contracts in franchise history - given to Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy - have fared so far. Long-term deals can be crippling for small-market clubs, hampering their payroll for years.
On the other hand, Hosmer is a much younger player than those free agents were when their deals were signed. The Royals have also been pretty flush with cash recently, from increased attendance in recent years, the sale of BAMTech that rewarded all owners with a $50 million payout, and the Royals are expected to land a much more lucrative television deal in the near future.
The fact Hosmer got two deals worth similar amounts in the same exact hour is a bit curious, and perhaps that will give the union more fodder in any accusations of collusion. Ultimately Hosmer landed a pretty lucrative deal, which weakens any such accusation, but teams are not allowed to “act in concert” with other teams in regards to negotiations, according to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Ultimately, the Royals’ initial offer to Hosmer would have fallen short of the winning bid regardless. Hopefully this is not an indication of disagreement between Glass and Moore on finances. It seems at the outset of every off-season, Moore says the club will cut payroll, but every spring he somehow manages to spend more than expected. But it is interesting to see how much Dayton Moore valued Hosmer and how badly he wanted to bring him back, even if ownership was much less certain.