Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports covers a lot of ground in his latest Inside Baseball column, beginning with a look at the Royals and the closing window of Kansas City’s core players (Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas). Hosmer is controllable through 2017, and while the Royals would love to keep him in K.C. forever, Heyman writes that Royals brass feels Hosmer and agent Scott Boras could seek $20MM+ on a 10-year deal. Those numbers may sound jarring for Hosmer, especially in light of Brandon Belt’s $79MM price tag this offseason, but a pair of GMs to whom Heyman spoke invoked contractual comparisons of Jason Heyward and Jacoby Ellsbury when looking ahead to Hosmer’s market. Hosmer will be entering his age-28 season when he hits the free-agent market, so he’ll certainly have youth on his side in addition to consistently improving performance.
More from the lengthy column…
- While the Diamondbacks have received trade interest in left-hander Patrick Corbin, GM Dave Stewart bluntly tells Heyman that he is “not moving Corbin.” Moving Corbin right now would be selling exceptionally low on a highly talented left-hander in the midst of a down season; Corbin looked like a budding star with the D-backs in 2013 and barely missed a beat in 2015 when returning from 2014 Tommy John surgery, but he’s currently sporting a 4.94 ERA on the season.
- The Orioles continue to hunt for starting pitching and have looked at Rich Hill and also checked in on Drew Pomeranz prior to his trade to the Red Sox. Baltimore, though, is pretty low on top-end prospects, which could make it difficult to submit the best offer for Hill, who’s been in high demand this summer.
- Astros right-hander Scott Feldman is available in trades, according to Heyman, and some rival executives believe that Houston would be open to moving Pat Neshek and Josh Fields despite their recent surge back into the division race. Feldman has handled a shift to the bullpen with aplomb and is currently sporting a 2.56 ERA with an improved 6.2 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate in 52 2/3 innings. He’s earning $8MM in the final season of a front-loaded three-year, $30MM contract. Neshek has a $7.8MM club option for the 2017 season ($500K buyout) and has a strong 2.54 ERA, though metrics like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all feel he’s been fortunate to post that mark this season. Fields is the opposite, with strong peripherals laying underneath an unsightly 6.89 ERA. He’s controllable through 2018.
- There “hasn’t been much buzz lately” when it comes to the potential trades of Brewers stars Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun, per Heyman, who notes that Lucroy again voiced at the All-Star festivities that he’d like to play for a contending club. Heyman adds that relievers Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress figure to draw plenty of interest, though there’s no firm indication that Milwaukee is open to dealing either of those controllable bullpen cogs.
- A club that spoke to the Rangers about trades came away with the impression that Joey Gallo isn’t very attainable. Gallo hasn’t been definitively mentioned as a trade candidate, but there’s been plenty of speculation about whether he could be included in a win-now move for the Rangers, especially in the wake of Adrian Beltre’s extension earlier this season. Heyman adds that the Rangers have investigated “basically all available starters,” which lines up with reports from recent weeks linking them to the likes of Ervin Santana, Pomeranz, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore and others.