What has so far been a disappointing season for the Kansas City Royals isn’t the end of their worries, with decisions looming over the future of Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas, the heart of their lineup over the last two years.
Hosmer, a fresh All-Star MVP, has probably been the Royals best performer this season. He’s batting .299 with a career high .831 OPS, hitting 13 home runs with 49 RBIs. The Royals have one more season of not having to worry about his free agency, but they are worried about the price arbitration will set for him next season, and the rumors about Hosmer probably seeking $20 million a season on a 10-year deal. That’s not Royals kind of money, but considering the first baseman is only 26 and other deals players with similar production have received, he has a market even with that kind of demand.
Mike Moustakas has one more year on a deal before he hits free agency, making $8.7 million next season. The 27-year old third baseman is having a rough season, down 44 batting points to .240 compared to last season, although his OPS isn’t down by much, settling at .801 so far. His injury has been one of the main reasons the Royals have struggled so much to keep up in the difficult AL Central, a lot more competitive than in the past.
Lorenzo Cain was an All-Star last season, not so much this year. The 31-year centerfielder is batting .290 through 73 games, his OPS dropping to .752 from the 800’s last season. He does have 8 home runs this season, on pace to match his career high of 16 from last season. He’s on the books for $11 million next season, and if there’s someone the Royals might find expendable, it’s going to be him, even if he was number 3 on the MVP voting last season, and has one ALCS MVP on his CV.
The Royals went out of their way to keep Alex Gordon last season with a franchise-record deal, signing him on a four-year, $72 million deal. It hasn’t worked out well for them due to his injury and being unable to pick himself up from it (batting .196 in 56 at-bats since his return), and it might make them wary of giving players older than 30 huge deals, relative to what the Royals are used to spending.