Eric Hosmer has signed an eight year contract with the San Diego Padres worth $144M and includes an opt out after five years. Like I’ve said before, the Royals DID NOT offer Eric the seven year deal worth $147M that was being reported. It wasn’t real. Let’s talk about what IS real.
1.) The Royals are in a great spot for the 2018 draft.
As it stands right now, the Royals will have picks number 18, 31, 33, and 39 in the 2018 MLB Draft. That is a whole lot of draft stock for a team in need of rebuilding their farm system. This is one of the deepest draft classes in recent memory, and the Royals are positioned well to take advantage. If they can have as good of a draft in 2018 as they did in 2017, this farm system could be turned on its head literally over night. It won’t jump into the top 10 necessarily, but it can work its way out of the cellar to be certain.
2.) Who’s on first?
The million dollar question now is, who on earth is going to play first base? Ned Yost said recently that Hunter Dozier will spend a majority of his time this spring at first base. Shaun Newkirk of Royals Review argues that that is a bad idea, and I agree with him. Dozier is a very good athlete with a good arm and doesn’t need to be wasting his time at a new position. Let him get comfortable in the big leagues at his natural position.
External options appear to be somewhat limited, although all signs point to Logan Morrison as an option to play 1B for the Royals. Max Rieper argues that that also doesn’t make sense. I agree with Max in the sense that, Logan Morrison makes zero sense in Kansas City. Rebuilding teams are not incentivized to try to compete with mid-tier free agents, they’re incentivized to tank. Logan Morrison will not help this team reach the playoffs and he’s not going to be around to help them after the rebuild.
Expect Hunter Dozier to get a chance to win the 1B job, but it’s definitely still up in the air.
3.) What does the future look like for Danny Duffy and Whit Merrifield?
General Manager Dayton Moore made no secrets about structuring this offseason around Eric Hosmer. It was even reported at one time that the Royals could have deals for Danny Duffy in place if Hosmer were to sign elsewhere, although those could be long gone by now. The Milwaukee Brewers were reported to have interest in both Duffy and Merrifield during the Winter Meetings, but they have since made a blockbuster trade for Christian Yelich.
In my opinion, Duffy and Merrifield are not long for the Kansas City Royals. The Royals have made multiple signings this offseason to beef up their depth at both SP and 2B. Jesse Hahn, Trevor Oaks, Brad Keller, Burch Smith, could all help fill into the rotation if Duffy were to be traded (although the bullpen could potentially be calling for all of them). Ryan Goins, Cody Asche, and Raul Mondesi Jr. could all be options at 2B in the event of a Merrfield trade. Obviously, the replacement for both Duffy and Merrifield would be far less valuable than actually having Merrifield and Duffy, but it’s time for the Royals to think long-term.
4.) How bad is this season going to look?
I see this a lot on Royals social media. Somehow, the idea that Eric Hosmer was going to be this team’s saving grace swept the inter web. Even if you believe Hosmer to be the best first baseman there ever was, he wasn’t carrying this team to the playoffs. The thing that will worry some has more to do with item number 3.) on this list, and that’s if Duffy and Merrifield get moved, because then this season could get really ugly in terms of W-L.
But that doesn’t mean this season has to be lost. Royals fans, we just witnessed one of the best eras of baseball in Kansas City history. For small-ish markets like KC, it costs to win championships. The Royals will pay that cost for the next 2-3 years. Go out and watch the young guys develop. Enjoy watching Raul Mondesi Jr. grow like you watched Esky grow. Watch Dozier like we watched Moose. Follow Royals Farm Report to keep up with the next wave of great Royals while they develop. Take your kids to the stadium and teach them about baseball when the young guys make some mistakes. Just because this team won’t compete for a playoff spot right away doesn’t mean we can’t go out to Kauffman Stadium and enjoy a ball game. Show the young guys some love. Show them what baseball in Kansas City is all about. Get them excited to be veterans on the next great Royals team. Keep spending your money on the Royals so that they can re-sign Jake Junis and Raul Mondesi Jr. when it’s time to compete again. Don’t quit supporting the Royals because they went all out and won a World Series. Go to the games, be thankful, and be patient. Dayton Moore will have this team back before you know it.