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Friday, January 05, 2018

Is Eric Hosmer bidding war overblown?

You need two teams to have a bidding war. At least you need one team to believe there are two teams.

The largest contract the Royals have given was the $72 million they gave to Alex Gordon, a stifling contract that—as the Royals head into rebuilding mode—stands as a hard reminder of what can happen when you let your heart guide your decisions.

None of this really stands up to reason. The only explanations I can come up with are:
1. Agent Scott Boras is some sort of James Bond villain supergenius.
2. Some people really, really, really like Eric Hosmer.
3. The bidding war report is overblown.

There are reasons to at least partially accept each explanation.

Boras can be a Bond supervillain; he’s blown up the moon before for players. This is a guy who got Prince Fielder more than $200 million as the slugger headed into his 30s. This is a guy who got Barry Zito the largest contract given to a pitcher, just as he was coming off three average seasons. He certainly has a lot more to work with with Hosmer.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 05, 2018 at 07:35 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: eric hosmer, free agents

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: January 05, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5601727)
Cardinals have been attached on and off with Hosmer, and I just do not see the need. So I'm hoping they do not get him. He's no more a certainty going forward than Jose Martinez, and with a lesser ceiling. I'm all for going after Stanton, Machado, Donaldson etc... elite players that are actually good, but Hosmer just doesn't say much, we already got a Hosmer type of signing last year with Fowler. No reason to continue the problem that the Cardinals already have, roster spaces filled with good players but not great, while potentially blocking anyone that they might develop.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: January 06, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5601944)
The rumored Royals' offer seemed slightly fishy. They've had him in the organization for most of a decade, surely their evaluation of his likely performance and health couldn't have been changed much by 2017 alone. And if they are willing now to sign him to a giant contract, it seems likely they could have reached an agreement with him on a big extension last offseason. Would he really have turned down 4/$85m or 5/$105m (plus his 2017 salary) a year ago?

Then again, Gordon reached free agency and then returned, so who knows?
   3. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: January 06, 2018 at 06:00 PM (#5602105)
He certainly has a lot more to work with with Hosmer.

Pfft. No.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2018 at 06:01 PM (#5602106)
I don't think it's fair to say that they followed their heart not their head with Gordon -- or my memory sucks. My memory is that we expected Gordon to do better in years and AAV but that he sat out there without a lot of interest, leaving us scratching our heads. He was older and coming off some missed time but that was the same offseason as Heyward, Upton and Cespedes' first deal were signed for much higher AAVs. (It was also the offseason nobody was interested enough in Fowler, giving the Cubs a bargain.) Getting Gordon for just 4 years (avoiding age 36) and just $72 looked like a pretty smart move.

The Heyward comp turned out to be a good one unfortunately as both have collapsed offensively while maintaining good defense (per Rfield) -- amazingly, Gordon's been an even less productive hitter than Heyward.

Anyway, point being they didn't rush out to re-sign Gordon, they waited around until his price fell. It's worked out terribly of course.

Speaking of Fowler, he was much better last season than I realized. I guess I stopped paying much attention to his stats after May but he bounced back to put up nice overall numbers with very good OBP and easily the highest ISO of his career. He really needs to be moved to a corner (or 1B or DH or somewhere that isn't CF).

I agree I don't get the Cards' interest in Hosmer. I could see interest in Moose Tacos -- keeping Carpenter at 1B and Martinez as a role player.

On what Hosmer would have accepted or turned down ... there was an article very early last year saying that "everyone agrees Hosmer deserves more than Brandon Belt." Belt is getting $17 M in his FA years, covering 30-33, so I'm thinking that was a signal that 5/$100 is about the minimum Hosmer might go for. I agree, he might well have taken something like that if offered in April. Once he was having a good season, he'd have been confident he could get more. His FA years were also starting 2 years younger than Belt's so he might have already have been looking for more than 5 years.

But, yeah, KC re-signing Hosmer looks like a PR-heavy decision. Maybe he puts butts in seats in the darkest rebuilding years then is wise vet, crappy DH as the kids develop for a couple of years, then figure out what to do if the team is actually good again in 5 years.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2018 at 06:16 PM (#5602120)
On the article's premise -- I think I agree. It seems there's not much interest in giving Hosmer a "big star" contract. Reportedly the main interest is from teams looking at him as an indicator of legitimacy, not a transformative player. He's hurt by the fact that the rich teams are pretty well set/stuck at 1B (Bird, Rizzo, Bellinger, Belt) and the Red Sox have decided Moreland/Martinez is the way to go. He's probably stuck with a choice between long, well-paid servitude in SD or KC or a shorter, maybe lower AAV contract with a mid-payroll contender like StL, maybe Sea.

What could work for him might be a Cespedes/Upton style early opt-out contract with a contender, preferably (from his perspective) front-loaded a bit. Maybe he signs with the Cards (or other contender) for 5/$100, structured 22/22/19/19/18, with an opt-out after year 2. If he repeats 2017 a couple of times, teams will be interested and he opts out. If he's oscillating Hosmer or meh Hosmer, then the Cards start paying him like a roughly average 1B. If he opts out, he'll hit the market after Harper/Machhado and before Trout. IMO not a good enough reason to pass up 7/$140 but if he wants to avoid the SDs of the world, it's a reasonable option for him.
   6. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 06, 2018 at 06:29 PM (#5602131)
Is Hosmer at 1B and Carpenter at 3B really that much better than Carpenter at 1B and Gyorko at 3B?

Steamer projections:
- Carpenter: 2.8 fWAR (619 PA)
- Gyorko: 2.2 fWAR (583 PA)
- Hosmer: 2.6 fWAR (642 PA)

At best, that's a half win improvement, some of which comes from Hosmer getting ~60 more PA than Gyorko and Greg Garcia is above replacement-level. $22M in 2018 for that half win is pretty expensive, let alone having to take on the risk of having Hosmer under contract into his mid-30s. I don't really how a $100M/5yr contract makes sense for them, particularly with an opt out.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2018 at 07:04 PM (#5602150)
Is Hosmer at 1B and Carpenter at 3B really that much better than Carpenter at 1B and Gyorko at 3B?

That is kinda my point (although I'm thinking Martinez at first, Carpenter at third/second and Gyorko as a rover who still gets 110 starts, especially since it's very likely Dejong will struggle) Signing a guy that you have to play(because you signed him) is clogging up the development of guys with maybe as much or more upside, and cost per war is much better, simply to say you made a move.

Cardinals already have a bevy of guys who could reasonably project to 2-3 war at pretty much every position, adding another really doesn't change things excepts upset the guys you have and potentially prevents a player from having a breakout year. We are stuck with Fowler, but it looks like he's willing to move to the corner so that helps fixes one of the biggest problems with the outfield last year, although Ozuna isn't that much of a better defensive fielder at center but the corners for the Cardinals are strong with Fowler moving and Pham(and Hader waiting for playing time)

   8. Endless Trash Posted: January 07, 2018 at 04:41 AM (#5602295)
I am not sure what it says about me that I read the excerpt and could tell somehow that it was Joe posnanski.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 18, 2018 at 01:04 AM (#5626533)
Hosmer to San Diego Padres in an 8-year deal with an opt-out after 5. Total cost not yet reported.

EDIT: The San Diego Union-Tribune has some details:
The average annual value of the eight-year deal is $18 million, the largest monetary commitment in Padres history.

The Padres had said they would be creative. The $144-million contract is believed to be front-loaded, which might make the opt-out more attractive for Hosmer.
   10. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 18, 2018 at 01:24 AM (#5626534)
$20 mil per the first 5 years, $13+ mil per the last 3 years.

Not a huge amount per annum, but geez Hosmer I just don't know. It's not a bad contract from SD's perspective I suppose they could get their 5/100 value out of the first 5 years if he you gives you 14 WAR, but will he? He seems to hit a lot balls on the ground so Petco should suit him!
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 18, 2018 at 01:30 AM (#5626535)
$20 mil per the first 5 years, $13+ mil per the last 3 years.

Plus a $5M signing bonus.
   12. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 18, 2018 at 01:41 AM (#5626536)
Clapper, thx for the update

What do think of the contract?
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 18, 2018 at 02:26 AM (#5626539)
If Hosmer is good, the opt-out years are priced so low that he might be able to do better with the free agency option. $105M guaranteed over 5, with $39M more if he doesn't opt-out (presumably due to injury or suckitude - $13M/yr. should be pretty low in 5 years) seems like a good deal for a player that's hard to value, as demonstrated by prior threads. Not that much risk for the Padres, and it's probably not likely they could have used the money for better free agents they'd likely be outbid on. Fair deal between willing parties, I guess. Credit the Padres for at least trying.
   14. Zach Posted: February 18, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5626598)
And if they are willing now to sign him to a giant contract, it seems likely they could have reached an agreement with him on a big extension last offseason. Would he really have turned down 4/$85m or 5/$105m (plus his 2017 salary) a year ago?

I think you have it backwards. KC fans always kind of expected Hosmer to get a big money offer somewhere else. I never got the impression he wanted to be a KC lifer.

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