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It’s the final day of January and several big name free agents still do not have contracts. The impressive list of names includes ace pitchers like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, not to mention 40-home run hitter J.D. Martinez and sweet-swinging, slick-fielding first baseman Eric Hosmer.
The reasons why these players have yet to sign contracts have been debated and dissected for several weeks. In the case of Hosmer though, it seems we have some real insight into why there’s been so little movement on his front.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, Hosmer and agent Scott Boras have set the bar high in contract talks.
Like, really high.
So high, in fact, that at least one term appears to be unrealistic.
Eric Hosmer’s camp has continued pushing for a contract of more than 7 years, source says. [He is a young free agent at age 28.] The #Royals’ need to re-sign him (and capacity to pay him) increased with this week’s Brandon Moss trade. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 31, 2018
If it’s true that Hosmer is holding out for a deal longer than seven years, it should be no surprise that he’s not under contract. As talented as he is, and there’s no denying a player who just hit .318 with 25 home runs and has won four Gold Glove awards has pretty of talent. As durable as he’s been, having appeared in at least 152 games five times in seven seasons. Eight years is a big commitment.
Too big, if we’re being honest.
Even though Hosmer’s still only 28 years old and even though his prime might carry him through half of the deal he’s asking for, the likelihood that he would be a liability and financial drain during the second is pretty strong.
Even the most aggressive spending teams would have a difficult time talking themselves into that commitment knowing what they could be stuck with five or six years down the road. Considering the teams that are most strongly linked to Hosmer are of the small market variety, it seems crazy to think he’ll ultimately get what he’s asking for in terms of length.
The annual salary Hosmer is seeking isn’t completely clear. We’ve heard $140 million is what San Diego would be willing to offer. We’ve heard upwards of $147 million from Kansas City, which is where Hosmer’s spent the entirety of his career.
That’s a big enough number that the Royals would have to clear a lot of money to make such a signing work. As Morosi notes, they’ve made one deal that could help accomplish that after dealing Brandon Moss to the A’s on Tuesday, but that might not be enough.
As for the Padres, Wil Myers’ six-year, $83 million contract is the biggest commitment the franchise has ever made. That suggests they’re unlikely to overextend to meet Hosmer’s demands.
If we know one thing about Scott Boras, it’s that he’ll wait as long as he has to to get what he wants. It’s not uncommon for his big name clients to wait until February or later to sign deals. If Hosmer is on board with holding firm, then it could be a long time still before he signs on the dotted line.
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