The Royals have agreed to a two-year, $13.9MM deal to avoid arbitration with first baseman Eric Hosmer, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). The Boras Corporation client, 25, will still have one more year of arb eligibility remaining before qualifying for free agency in 2018.
Hosmer will earn $5.65MM for 2015 and will take home a $8.25MM salary next season, per another Flanagan tweet. A Super Two last year, Hosmer had filed at $6.7MM while Kansas City countered at $4.6MM. That created a $5.65MM midpoint — an exact match for his upcoming salary — that fell above Hosmer’s $5.2MM projection from MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz.
Though he is entrenched with the Royals, Hosmer still has yet to put together back-to-back productive seasons. In 2013, he slashed .302/.353/.448 with 17 home runs and 11 steals over 680 plate appearances, good for a 3+ win campaign. But he barely cracked the replacement barrier in his 547 trips to the dish in 2014. He rebounded well from a mid-season hand fracture, and was generally much better in the second half, but still ended the year with a .270.318/.398 mark with nine long balls and four stolen bags.
Obviously, the budget-conscious Royals remain believers. While a two-year pact offers some cost certainty and, potentially, some savings, it also takes away the possibility of a non-tender. And the team will be left exposed to the value of Hosmer’s raise if an injury occurs that would have limited his earning power.