The Padres and agent Scott Boras have “engaged in regular dialogue” regarding Eric Hosmer over the past few days, reports Dennis Lin of The Athletic. That’s a change from recent weeks, per Lin, when neither side was showing much in the way of urgency.
Lin goes on to report that both the Padres and the Royals have “suggested flexibility” beyond their initial seven-year bids, though it’s not clear whether that’s in reference to annual value, length of contract, inclusion of opt-out provisions or some combination of the above. As he has in the past, Lin notes that the Padres’ offer to Hosmer was for less than $140MM in total. Regardless, it still seems as if the Hosmer market is a two-horse race for the time being, barring the emergence of a surprise suitor as Spring Training kicks off in both Arizona and Florida.
As for the other horse in that race, the Royals are remaining fairly quiet on the subject. The Kansas City Star’s Rustin Dodd writes that he asked GM Dayton Moore about the matter, and while Moore confirmed that he remains in touch with Boras, he declined to delve into any further specifics. “I’ve been fairly transparent throughout this process,” Moore told Dodd. “At this point, we just have to let it play out.” The GM did note in a radio appearance with 810 AM’s The Program last week that Hosmer “is the player that fits us for the future.”
Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, though, wrote recently that Hosmer’s camp has been holding out to try to extract a nine-year deal from the Royals. Even if that may be a mere negotiation tactic to “settle” on a midpoint of eight years (that’s my own speculation, to be clear), a seven-year offer doesn’t seem likely to suffice at present. If the Padres and Royals do have some willingness for “flexibility” in their offers, as Lin suggested, then perhaps the first team to push its offer forward by another year will secure a deal.
With Spring Training kicking off this week, Boras/Hosmer can also hold out a bit longer to see if injuries create any new opportunities. After all, they do have the luxury of knowing that the Padres and Royals, two clubs that are interested in Hosmer despite their status as rebuilding/retooling organizations, aren’t likely to spend that money elsewhere or add a more affordable first baseman because their interest is more in Hosmer himself than in upgrading at the position. However, if Spring Training wears on and no obvious alternative emerges, one has to imagine that the current seven-year proposals would hold increasing appeal.