Although he is not a free agent until 2018, now might be the time for Kansas City to offer Hosmer a contract extension.
The 24-year-old first baseman has been one of the cornerstones of the up-and-coming Royals team. His Gold-Glove defense and ability to come up with timely hits were key factors that played into Kansas City's 86-76 record in 2013.
Over 159 games last season, Hosmer batted .302 with 17 home runs and 79 runs batted in. His 188 hits ranked second among all American League first basemen, trailing only the great Miguel Cabrera.
So, now may be the right time for Kansas City to lock up a key player to the future of the club by extending his contract before the end of the season.
The Royals have continued to improve on offense over the past few seasons with the emergence of prospects such as Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, catcher Salvador Perez and outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Veteran Billy Butler has also continued to put up All-Star seasons, and this lineup is set up to contend for years to come.
With the signing of second baseman Omar Infante during the offseason, the Royals have a complete lineup.
However, without Hosmer the lineup will suffer, and that is why the organization should look into extending his contract immediately.
Hosmer will be eligible for arbitration again at the end of 2014, but offering him a contract now that would carry him through arbitration and a few seasons past free agency would be beneficial for both sides. That may be tough considering his agent is Scott Boras, who is notorious for pushing the limits for his players in free agency.
The answer for the Royals is to be even more aggressive in pursuing a new contract for Hosmer, as he has all the makings of becoming the face of the franchise.
Of course, we have seen plenty of long-term deals prove to be huge mistakes over the last ten years, but extending a young star's contract like this one would be extremely smart for the Royals.
One thing is for sure: Kansas City is ready to compete this season, due in large part to Hosmer's bat in the middle of the lineup. If the Royals do not extend his contract, he will receive huge offers in free agency in a few years (barring any sort of catastrophic injury).
So, while 2014 is the time for Kansas City to contend for a playoff spot, now is the time for them to lock in their brightest young player.
*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball Reference