Eric Hosmer (2016 age: 26)
2015 Salary: $5.65 MM, 2016 Salary: $8.25 MM
Hosmer and the Royals negotiated a two-year deal that bought out his arbitration years in 2015 and 2016. The first baseman will make $8.25 MM in 2016. That’s probably a relative discount to what he would have earned in arbitration. The mini-extension was a good deal for both sides, and the $13.9 MM that Hosmer will earn over the life of the deal is about what he would have made going through the arbitration process. Neither side really got the best of the other in this deal.
The two-year deal shows one thing — Hosmer is not likely to sign an extension before hitting the open market. With Boras as his agent, that’s not incredibly surprising. The two-year deal will leave Hosmer with one final year of arbitration prior to his walk year. Keeping that arbitration year in place is important for Hosmer and his agent, because whatever salary he is awarded for the 2017 season will serve as a floor for any team hoping to sign Hosmer after team control runs out for the Royals.
It is difficult to predict exactly how Hosmer’s skills would be valued on the open market. He’s got a great glove at first base, and an outstanding postseason resume. Over a 162-game schedule, he will be good for a .300/.350/.450 line with 15-20 home runs and close to 100 RBIs. Is that line worth $20 MM per season to every team in the league, or is Hosmer most valuable in a lineup like Kansas City’s? That’s the million dollar question, and there’s no way Boras will let the Royals answer it for his client. Hosmer is the one player in the group who has the least reason to sign an extension before free agency.