We’ve heard ongoing chatter about the possibility of first baseman Eric Hosmer striking a new deal with the Royals. Last we checked in, it seemed that talks weren’t active, though there are also indications the organization could weigh a contract after the season. Then, of course, there’s the matter of potential asking and offering prices, which drew headlines recently when Hosmer himself had to shoot down talk that he’d be seeking a decade-long guarantee.
In the aggregate, there’s little in the way of momentum toward an agreement between the Kansas City organization and their homegrown star. Neither is there much in the way of optimism, it seems, based upon the latest reporting from Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, who spoke with both Royals owner David Glass and Hosmer’s agent, Scott Boras.
Glass, who’s holding the checkbook in this situation, says that “it will be difficult” to find accord. His reasoning, though, is notable. While crediting Hosmer for his loyalty and saying that he “think[s] Hoz wants to stay here,” Glass suggested that the presence of Boras would complicate matters. While the owner didn’t specifically argue that Boras himself was a particularly problematic agent, he did suggest that Boras is subject to the same incentives as other representatives, and is therefore concerned with how his handling of Hosmer “affects his relationship with his other clients.”
For his part, Boras pushed back at any suggestion that Hosmer would be swayed away from his own self interest. “To suggest Hoz isn’t in total control of his decisions indicates someone has yet to notice that championship ring on his finger,” said the agent. As Mellinger well explains, there certainly seems to be a bit of underlying tension here, though Boras and the Royals have enjoyed a reasonably productive relationship in recent years.
If it’s hard for the Royals and Hosmer to find an agreeable range on a new deal, it’s equally difficult to do so from the outside. He won’t even turn 28 until October and has shown his talent at times at the game’s highest level, with three Gold Glove Awards, a top-25 MVP finish, and an All-Star Game appearance on his record. But Hosmer has also yet to establish himself as a consistently productive major league hitter. Over six full seasons in the big leagues, he owns a .277/.335/.428 slash that’s just about 7% above league average (by measure of both OPS+ and wRC+). As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained yesterday, that makes Hosmer arguably “the most polarizing 2017-18 free agent,” and leaves the upcoming season as a critical barometer in determining his earning power.