9:43am: Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals have not made an offer worth $147MM over seven years to Hosmer, though they remain interested in re-signing him. Mellinger’s report doesn’t specifically refute the length of the offer or that one has been made. Nightengale did stress in yesterday’s report that the length of the offer was confirmed by at least one “high-ranking” member of the Royals, though it’s certainly possible that the overall guarantee has been overstated.
Jan. 4, 9:20am: Boras dismissed Nightengale’s numbers as “inaccurate” when speaking to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required and highly recommended), though he offered no further detail beyond that point. Rosenthal agrees with Nightengale’s assessment that Hosmer is seeking a larger contract both in length and total guarantee, noting that Hosmer is younger than the bulk of free agents that have received contracts of seven or more years in length.
Jan. 3, 1:25pm: San Diego’s offer is at seven years but has not reached $140MM, a source tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter).
8:25am: The market for Eric Hosmer appears to be heating up, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He cites sources “close to Hosmer” that say the first baseman has received nine-figure offers from both the Padres and the Royals.
San Diego, per the report, has dangled a seven-year deal at a healthy $140MM price tag — about $20MM more than had previously been suggested. But the incumbent Kansas City club is said to have topped that bid with a contract that would include a $147MM guarantee. Notably, Nightengale says he was able to confirm the length of the proposed contract terms with both organizations.
Entering the offseason, MLBTR predicted that Hosmer would only be able to secure a six-year guarantee at a $132MM price tag. That said, we noted that the 28-year-old was seeking more and could drive bidding northward if he found a few organizations that placed a particularly high value on his services.
It seems that’s just what has happened, as Hosmer is now evidently sitting on two appealing offers from two small-market teams that aren’t even expected to contend in 2018. The Royals, of course, are quite familiar with the first baseman and obviously feel his value outstrips the assessment of measures such as wins above replacement. And it seems that’s an opinion shared by the Pads, who must see Hosmer as a potential building block for a young roster that’s expected to bloom in the coming seasons.
For Kansas City, bringing back the team’s core star would not necessarily mean pushing the pedal down for 2018. Rather, the club has indicated throughout the winter that it’ll be drawing back payroll and looking to reload. But such a move would surely impact the team’s overall planning for the coming seasons and might impact its willingness to trade longer-term assets such as Danny Duffy.
Meanwhile, the Padres — whose interest has long been known — would clearly need to bump Wil Myers back into the outfield to make room for Hosmer. Making this deal might also mean dealing away some other assets to make the roster work, though again a signing wouldn’t necessarily be accompanied by other win-now moves. San Diego did recently pick up a short-term veteran at shortstop in Freddy Galvis, though that move is hardly a committing one and the team has mostly endeavored to fill its gaps with low-cost signings. It’s doubtful the organization would drastically alter its timeline in other areas, though certainly adding such a significant salary to the payroll would have a major impact on the options moving forward.
Notably, Hosmer is not just assessing which of these two contracts to take at this point. Rather, Nightengale says that Hosmer and his agent, Scott Boras, are “seeking at least an eight-year or nine-year deal.” Whether or not there’s further room for those offers to grow is not immediately clear, and it’s not entirely evident whether any other teams will enter the bidding in earnest. (The Cardinals have recently been suggested as having ongoing interest, though.) Regardless, it seems that Hosmer is in position to secure a massive contract that meets or exceeds most expectations.