This is where things get interesting for the Kansas City Royals. The champagne has dried, the ticker tape parade has run its course, and appearances on the late-night talk circuit have been made. It’s time to get down to business in what could be a pivotal offseason in Kansas City.
It’s likely the Royals will be looking at several large holes in the roster that won the Fall Classic. Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, trade deadline acquisitions, are likely to bolt in free agency. Alex Gordon opted out of his deal with the Royals. The outfielder will also be difficult to retain. World Series MVP Salvador Perez and 2014 playoff hero Yordano Ventura are already locked up to extremely team-friendly deals.
Beyond the potential loss of Cueto, Gordon, and Zobrist, there is another pressing issue for the Royals — the status of three other young studs. Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer are all fast approaching free agency. An argument could be made that each of these players is the heart and soul of the Royals. Cain and Moustakas are arbitration eligible in 2016, and Hosmer has one more year on a two-year mini-deal.
The market for each of these players if they were to ultimately reach free agency is difficult to predict. Hosmer and Moustakas play positions where power is at a premium. Neither hits for much power. Cain, a late-bloomer, will be on the wrong side of 30 by the time team control runs out. The centerfielder, however, is rapidly improving, and has made himself into an All-Star. Cain’s value may actually be highest on the open market. No doubt, Cain will be closely monitoring the valuation of Jason Heyward‘s services this winter.
With Hosmer and Moustakas being represented by Scott Boras, and Cain likely to continue improving, locking up any of these three to a deal as friendly as Perez’s or Ventura’s may not be possible. Do the Royals have a chance of getting any extensions done before the trio reaches free agency?