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Should the Royals lock up Eric Hosmer now?

May 12, 2011, 11:30 AM EST

Kansas City Royals v Texas Rangers Getty Images

Eric Hosmer has played exactly five games in the major leagues and has made exactly 22 plate appearances. And Sam Mellinger of the KC Star says the Royals should lock him up right now:

Five games into his big-league career and he’s already batting third and drawing comparisons to Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez. That’s all great. It’s the lines to Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran that make Royals fans nervous, and the ones that are worth addressing this week.

In other words, the Royals should offer Hosmer a long-term and lucrative contract right now.

As he always does, Mellinger makes a compelling argument.  The key points: The Evan Longoria contract shows that you can get a good one signed young to a team-friendly deal. And that while Hosmer may be a Scott Boras client, as evidenced by the Carlos Gonzalez contract, Scott Boras isn’t the same Scott Boras today that he was a few years ago and may not be hellbent on taking everyone to free agency. Mellinger’s idea: try to split the difference between the Longria and Gonzalez contracts with Hosmer.

I wonder how much of the Gonzalez contract, however, was a function of Boras’ own evaluation of Gonzalez as less of a sure thing than a lot of young guys who break onto the scene. In other words, did his advice to Gonzalez to sign now represent an exception that he would not make in the case of Hosmer, who is much more highly touted than Gonzalez was at a similar point in his career?

What say you? If you’re the Royals, do you try to lock him up now or do you wait a bit, realizing that the guy won’t even be arbitration eligible until after the 2012 season, and maybe not even until after 2013?  If you’re Hosmer, do you consider it, realizing that, while guaranteed money is great, you did get a $6 million signing bonus a couple of years ago?

  1. yankeesfanlen - May 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Since he’s already here, we might as well sign him now and give Tex a day off here and there, and Posada looks like he needs a rest at DH.

    • dlevalley - May 12, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Well played

    • yankeesfanlen - May 12, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      He really should get rid of that beard anyway, he looks like Mose.

  2. oldnumero7 - May 12, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    If I’m the Royals I’d offer him the Longoria deal today, that’s not a huge risk/investment for his upside. But if I’m Hosmer there’s no way I’d take it, that contract is not great for Longoria. As for meeting in the middle of Longoria and Gonzalez, perhaps we should wait a while. Another five games should suffice.

  3. randall351 - May 12, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    I wouldn’t offer anyone long term guaranteed contracts. I’m not sure if they have injury clauses in any of them, but after dodging a bullet on the Gil Meche contract I wouldn’t count on many other players leaving money on the table. Another example of a long term contract that turned out horrible for the Royals is Mike Sweeney with his back issues.
    That’s one thing I think the NFL has that I can’t believe other professional sports don’t have, non guaranteed contracts so that you don’t get saddled paying millions to a guy who does absolutely nothing to help the team.
    The Royals have already proved to be unable to use the money they do spend correctly as pointed out by Posnanski: http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/04/29/the-lowest-payroll-in-baseball/

    • Reflex - May 12, 2011 at 8:37 PM

      NFL’s non-guaranteed contracts are a joke. A player beats the hell out of their body making owners tens of millions, but once thier back is iffy they are tossed away. All the risk is put on the player. No thanks.

      Baseball already has its answer to guaranteed contracts, insurance policies. When a team signs someone long term like that typically they take out a policy against injury so that if the worst happens the player isn’t screwed for simply putting it all on the line, and the team isn’t screwed for showing faith in the player. Much better approach.

  4. henryd3rd - May 12, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Can we just hold off on enshrining this guy in the Hall of Fame? He’s been in the “bigs” less then a month and already people feel he’s the second coming of George Brett! Success has a way of spoiling even the best prospects. Let’s let him have a few years in the “bugs” before he crown him king of the world. Plus some year ago there was another can’t miss prospect that came out of KC. His name Clint Hurdle! He’s a pretty good manager; but he fizzled as a player.

  5. henryd3rd - May 12, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Can we just hold off on enshrining this guy in the Hall of Fame? He’s been in the “bigs” less then a month and already people feel he’s the second coming of George Brett! Success has a way of spoiling even the best prospects. Let’s let him have a few years in the “bigs” before we crown him King of the World. Plus some year ago there was another can’t miss prospect that came up with KC. His name Clint Hurdle! He’s a pretty good manager; but he fizzled as a player.

  6. ralphdibny - May 12, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    One word, Craig: Frenchy.

  7. BC - May 12, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Hosmer hit a bomb last night against NYY. Let him go a month or two, see how he deals with adversity (everyone has a slump once in a while), and if all is hunky-dorey at that point, yeah, give him the Longoria treatment.

  8. superpriebe - May 12, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    I actually thought this to myself before they called him up – sign him while he’s still raking in the minors. Sure, it’s risky, but its the way a team like KC can save tons of much-needed cash.

    Someone above mentioned that the Royals don’t spend their money well on the free agent market as an argument against signing Hosmer. To me, it’s an argument *for* signing him. The Royals have little business pouring money in to free agent mediocrities – as such, they should pour money into the farm program and the fruits it bears. For all the money they gave to Meche, they could have signed a dozen or two over-slot draft picks with much higher profiles and ceilings.

    I seriously doubt this happens, though. Angel Berroa turned out very badly for the Royals, and Alex Gordon was a can’t-miss that missed. So, Dayton’s going to be quite gun shy, as he was with Butler and probably cost the team several million by waiting. Plus, it’s way too smart for them. They’ve already set the stupid in motion with Hosmer by ensuring he’ll be a SuperTwo*. The next step will be to jerk him around the diamond and back-and-forth to Omaha while lavishing playing time and millions on future Royal Lyle Overbay.

    *For me, “SuperTwo” is the only way to stylize this concept

    • BC - May 12, 2011 at 4:23 PM

      But if he signs a six-year contract, “Super Two” is punted, no?

      • natstowngreg - May 12, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        Think you’re right. No arbitration if you’re under contract already. That’s what the Nats did with Ryan Zimmerman.

      • superpriebe - May 12, 2011 at 9:43 PM

        I would imagine any agent (and certainly Boras) would know to use the potential for SuperTwo arbitration as part of the negotiation of the extension. As such, while SuperTwo may be made irrelevant by the extension, it will not be irrelevant to the terms of the extension.

        Waiting another three weeks to bring up Hosmer would have eliminated this problem – it was a stupid move from a business point of view.

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