ORLANDO, Fla. – The Royals, who now seem less inclined to do a rebuild, are looking closely at potential returns for star infielders Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas but appear to have all but given up hope of retaining star center fielder Lorenzo Cain.
Kansas City has been thought to be weighing a real rebuilding job considering their long list of star free agents and the expected prices in this year’s market, but at least for now seem more focused on doing what they can to keep some of their core together in a winter in which they have the potential to be decimated by free agency. It has long been known that Hosmer has topped their list of free agents they’d like to bring back, but it appears, too, that they are seriously weighing re-signing Mike Moustakas, as well, if possible.
The Royals-owning Glass family seems to have come to the conclusion they team can remain competitive and doesn’t want to disappoint an enthusiastic fan base, that has wildly supported the team during his recent heyday, including pennants in 2014 and ’15, and a World Series title in ’15.
Hosmer and Moustakas are former high No. 1 picks who are home-grown stars and have been a big part of their recent successes, and the Royals surprised folks two winters again by being able to retain left fielder Alex Gordon, who was also a home-grown star; they surprised themselves by outbidding both the Cubs and White Sox in that case. They like Cain, as well, but envision a market going well beyond where they’d be willing to go for him, with the Rangers, Mariners, Giants and Dodgers among logical pursuers of the center fielder.
Hosmer and Moustakas are likely in for even bigger paydays, particularly Hosmer, but the Royals seem to see them as cornerstone players for the future. Unlike Cain, both Hosmer and Mosutakas are still in their 20s, and that could be a big reason they are the focus, at least for now.
Hosmer seems like a possibility for the Red Sox, among others, with the several other teams currently having potential first base openings, including the Mariners, Rockies, Mets, Rangers, Indians and Rays – though some of those teams are unlikely to seek such a big-ticket item. The Angels have been see(link) as the most likely outside landing spot for Moustakas, though the Giants currently have a third-base question, too.
Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain all will reject the $17.4-million qualifying offer the Royals extended, sources said. K.C. seemed to weigh the decision to give Cain a qualifying offer with much ore gravity, though eventually they decided there was almost no chance he’d accept. All three should get monster free-agent deals. K.C.’s $72-million deal for Gordon is their franchise record, but they understand Hosmer will be a $100-million player and Moustakas could top the Gordon deal, too. One other issue is that neither has to sign quickly, and both have Scott Boras as an agent, so there’s no guarantee either will
The Royals have the most star-studded group of free agents going, with shortstop Alcides Escobar and pitcher Jason Vargas also free agents. Those would be much more cost-efficient considerations, though Vargas won’t be too cheap off a very nice year.
It’s possible the Royals could turn to a plan of rebuild eventually. But first, they intend to see if they have a chance to retain their own stars – at least two of them, anyway.