The Padres have made no secret this offseason of their interest in free agent Eric Hosmer, and it appears they mean business. However, the Royals aren't ready to stand idly by while their star player signs elsewhere.
In a column for USA Today this week, Bob Nightengale mentioned that the first baseman has a seven-year offer in hand from San Diego. The money in this proposed deal is said to be around $140 million, qualifying as an unprecedented splash for a franchise whose previous FA spending record was around half that ($75 million for James Shields in 2015).
Nightengale also reports that the Royals have offered Hosmer a seven-year deal at slightly more money, $147 million. This, too, would represent a giant leap from the team's historical benchmark for free agent commitments.
If there's a hitter out there right now worthy of a seven-year contract, it might be Hosmer. He just turned 28 in October, so he's younger than most players reaching the open market for the first time. He wouldn't even be 35 yet by the time such a term expired.
From a fantasy perspective, it's worth wondering whether his power -- which has never been spectacular to begin with -- would take a ding from the move to Petco Park, should San Diego win out in the bidding war. If Hosmer goes back to KC on a monster deal, that would presumably take the Royals out of the running for Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain.
These two clubs appear to be the front-runners but they're not alone in making a run at Hosmer. Jon Morosi reported on Tuesday that the Cardinals "remain involved," although their level of interest is unclear.
Red Sox Have Made Offer to Martinez
In the same column where he first relayed San Diego's offer to Hosmer, Nightengale also noted that J.D. Martinez has received a five-year offer from the Red Sox. This is less surprising. Boston has been conspicuously quiet so far this winter, and they could use a big addition to counter New York's acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton. Martinez would certainly qualify, and we love the thought of his elite power bat operating in Fenway Park.
The problem, of course, is that the Red Sox don't currently have room for Martinez in their outfield, but there have been rumors of Jackie Bradley Jr. being shopped this offseason. Presumably, that would result in Andrew Benintendi moving to center and opening up a corner spot for the new addition. Trading away DH Hanley Ramirez could also create room for Martinez in the lineup.
Eyes on Arrieta
Jake Arrieta, like Hosmer and Martinez, is an unsigned Scott Boras client seeking huge money. Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports that "the two clubs showing the most interest in Arrieta are the Cubs and Cardinals" with the right-hander seeking a contract in excess of $200 million. Levine adds that Chicago is open-minded about other top free agent starters like Yu Darvish and Alex Cobb, or trade targets like Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer.
One way or another, the Cubs appear poised to add a frontline starting pitcher, and we'd expect it to happen soon with the start of spring training now less than six weeks away.
Quick Hits: The market appears to be heating up for free agent reliever Fernando Abad, with the lefty drawing interest from several teams, per Craig Mish of SiriusXM ... The Dodgers acquired minor-league pitcher Dylan Baker from Milwaukee in exchange for cash or a player to be named, after the right-hander was designated for assignment by the Brewers in late December ... Jimmy Nelson said during an appearance on MLB Network that he's very pleased with how his recovery from shoulder surgery is coming along, but he's still not slated to start throwing until spring and we wouldn't expect to see him pitching in games until around the middle of the season ... Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto said the team will move 24-year-old right-hander Max Povse back into a starting role in 2018 after trying him in relief last season.