Eric Hosmer is a polarizing figure in Kansas City. He was one of the earliest arrivals of the system developed by general manage Dayton Moore. He was the savior the the team had been waiting for over the past several years. He was a leader well beyond his age.
Then he struggled.
The dreaded "sophomore slump" that slows the progression of players hit Hosmer hard and left the first baseman struggling to regain his stroke. His second year in the league saw his batting average plummet 60 points lower than his rookie season, and his slugging percentage drop over 100 points.
Royals fans were wondering if he was really as good as the team thought when he finished third in the running for Rookie of the Year in 2011. The Royals were counting on him to be a player they could build around. Suddenly, he was hitting lower in the batting order instead of in the heart of it.
The Eric Hosmer that arrived in 2011 with hype and fanfare showed back up in 2013. He posted career highs in every offensive category with the exception of home runs and walks. He hit over .300 for the first time in his career. He won a Gold Glove award for his defense. Kansas City once again had their young star to build around.
Recently, Royals beat reporter Bob Dutton spoke with Hosmer and shared the slugger's thoughts on a contract extension via Twitter:
Hosmer says no talks w/#Royals on long-term deal: "I’m locked in for another 4 years, and we have guys whose contracts expire before mine."— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) November 5, 2013
The quote from Hosmer is interesting as it draws a very unclear line to the situation. On one hand, Hosmer may be saying that he understands the business and feels no pressure to sign an extension when others have contract issues that are more pressing. That viewpoint shows the leader that Hosmer has portrayed himself to be. It also shows a strong loyalty to the club, allowing the team to handle pressing matters and knowing that they can come to him when they are ready.
On the other hand, Hosmer is a Scott Boras client. Boras is calculating and knows how to leverage situations for his clients to receive the most of their return. He is not above signing contract extensions, but he will make sure that he gets proper value for the players he represents.
Thinking of Boras can cause the quote from Hosmer to sound a bit more ominous. It gives way to a thought process that Hosmer is awaiting his time to become a free agent in four years. It paints a picture of a young man who is not loyal to the Kansas City Royals. He may just be bidding his time for a future payday.
For the next four years, Hosmer is a Kansas City Royal unless he is traded or released. He finds himself at the mercy of the team and can only enhance his value by being a team player and producing on the field. The young man is well aware of that fact.
One thing is clear: He is well aware of the right thing to say to the media.
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Statistics in the above article are sourced from Baseball-Reference.com