The Kansas City Royals went from a 2015 World Series title to finishing two games under .500 in just two seasons. It is a new year and the Royals have a chance to regain the crown of the AL Central, but the team may be looking toward a rebuilding season considering their current payroll situation. Still, they're hoping to keep most of their roster intact and make a push towards the playoffs in 2018. Here are all the latest news and rumors you need to know:
Kansas City's chances to re-sign Eric Hosmer
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has been heavily pursued by the San Diego Padres this winter, but as the offseason drags on, Kansas City's chances to re-sign him only improve, according to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.
Hosmer still appears to have interest from the San Diego Padres, though recent reports that the club was prepared to offer a six-year, $120 million contract were based on incorrect interpretations of earlier reports from ESPN’s Buster Olney. For now, the market has been so slow that even idle chatter from the winter meetings can be dissected and ground to a nub.
In some ways, of course, the slow nature of the offseason could buoy the Royals’ hopes to re-sign Hosmer. Two years ago, the club waited out free agent Alex Gordon and came to terms with him in early January. Yet the current offseason offers some uncertainty.
Hosmer is looking to get paid, but the Padres don't seem willing to meet his asking price, either. He posted a career-best .318/.385/.498 batting line with 25 home runs and 94 RBI over 162 games in 2017.
Mike Moustakas unlikely to return to Royals
There has also been talk about Mike Moustakas returning to the Royals on a one-year deal, but that is very unlikely, according to David Lesky of Baseball Prospectus Kansas City.
There’s been a lot of talk in the last week or so about Mike Moustakas having to take a one-year deal given the way his market has completely cratered, which has led people to think the Royals might be in play for him. And I get it, but I think there’s one thing that a lot of people aren’t considering. If a player is taking a one year deal, they’re doing it to establish some value to get back on the market and make more money the next season. It’ll always be very difficult for the Royals to sign a hitter in that position if that hitter is looking to hit home runs to build his value. It’s just not easy to hit home runs in Kauffman Stadium, and furthermore, there are a couple other pitcher’s parks in the division which means that if you play for the Royals, you’re likely spending about 110-115 of your games in pitcher’s parks. A guy like Moustakas might consider it due to comfort level, but he’d be far better off going to Yankee Stadium for a year and pulling 315 foot fly balls for home runs all season long.
Moustakas hit .272 with 38 home runs and 85 RBIs in 148 games last season.
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Former first-round pick Hunter Dozier to see significant playing time with Royals?
Hunter Dozier, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2013 draft, has not played much in the majors, but that should change this year, according to FanSided's Leigh Oleszczak.
The 2018 season is the perfect time to get Hunter Dozier involved and find a role for him. Dozier looked to be the third baseman of the future in case Mike Moustakas wasn’t in town long-term, but Cheslor Cuthbert proved himself nicely in 2016 while filling in for an injured Moose.
With Cuthbert likely being the go-to guy at third, that leaves two positions open for Dozier where he has experience playing in the minors. Those two spots are at first base or in right field. Dozier spent just four games at first base in 2017 in Triple-A, but that could be the best place to slot him in at, especially if Eric Hosmer doesn’t return.
Dozier played in 33 games in the minors last season, hitting .243 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
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