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Heyman | 3 Royals free agents exemplify odd winter

Jon Heyman

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Jun 10, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (left) first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) and third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) celebrate a 12-6 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

A trio of Kansas City Royals top free agents best illustrated what a crazy winter this is.

There’s Eric Hosmer, who got a winter-high $144 million over eight years from the Padres; there is Lorenzo Cain, who got $80 million over five years; and there is Mike Moustakas, who is still waiting for his deal and remains without a team.

All three were key players in the Royals’ surprise back-to-back runs to the World Series, and while Hosmer, younger and maybe a slightly better player, was expected to do the best of the three, the disparity to date is shocking.

Moustakas set the Royals franchise record with 38 home runs last year, seemingly setting himself up nicely for free agency. But he and three star pitchers (Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn) remain without jobs in this wild winter.

“It’s chilly out there,” Cain said the other day in Brewers camp about his friend from the Royals. “I’m in shock.”

We haven’t heard from Moustakas yet. But friends say he is doing okay and determined to wait it out until he gets a deal he deems appropriate. Moustakas’ market was hurt when the Giants and Angels – his hometown team – went elsewhere for third basemen, with the Giants trading for Evan Longoria and the Angels signing Zack Cozart, a longtime shortstop, to play third. And third base is a tough spot, anyway; Justin Turner revealed his only offer last winter came from his own Dodgers team, which he took ($64 million, four years).

Moustakas has been connected to the Yankees (who are out after taking Brandon Drury), White Sox, Braves and also the Royals. But it’s unclear who leads now.

“It shouldn’t be taking this long,” said Cain, who was quite happy to return to his original Brewers team (he left them in the famed Zack Greinke trade). “But you can’t make guys spend.”

Moustakas isn’t seen as a warm-and-fuzzy type, but he’s a very good player and he’s engendering sympathy.

“I hope he gets what he deserves,” Cain said. “You wait six years … it sucks. You have to play six years, and you expect one thing, and it becomes stressful.”

It is hard to believe in some ways.

“Damn, what else do you want?” Cain said.

In the meantime, he’s maintaining his cool, by all accounts.

“He’s waiting patiently and staying strong,” Cain said.

icymi, 3 royals stars have had 3 very different outcomes so far this winter. lorenzo cain, the middle guy, has some thoughts.

Posted by Jon Heyman on Saturday, March 3, 2018

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Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on FanRagSports.com every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from CBSSports.com, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and SI.com, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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