The notion that Eric Hosmer might be seeking (or might deserve) a 10-year, $200 million contract has always been ridiculous. Conventional baseball wisdom might appreciate a player who often hits for decently high averages, stays healthy enough to rack up pretty good counting stats, and wins three Gold Gloves because despite some recent improvements in the system (because most of the people who vote on that award still don’t know how to interpret advanced defensive stats, which have long rated Hosmer a worse-than-average fielder). Throw in how desperate teams are to avoid paying big bucks for less-than-elite players in their 30s and how easy it is to find first basemen who can hit relative to mashers at other positions, and even Hosmer’s enormously savvy agent Scott Boras can’t pull a $200 million rabbit out of this hat.
Financial maneuvering aside, though, Hosmer’s having the best offensive season of his career, his .313/.374/.493 line grading out as 30% better than league average. That season-long strength doesn’t fully capture what Hosmer’s done to power the Royals back the playoff hunt. After starting the season by hitting a pitcher-like .195/.253/.247 in his first 20 games of 2017, he’s batted a terrific .337/.398/.526, simultaneously smacking line drives all over the park and also going on one of the biggest power jags of his seven-year career, with 40 extra-base hits in 97 games.
The Royals’ recent five-game losing streak knocked them out of the lead for the second wild-card spot. But Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Jason Vargas and Alcides Escobar still have enough time for one last stand, before that loaded Royals core of free agents-to-be tests the open market. If the Royals have one more back-from-the-dead run to summon, now would be the perfect time for that to happen.