Free Agent Matrix: Where will Eric Hosmer head this winter?
While the Hot Stove is a beautiful respite from the dreary world, it can be complicated sometimes. To help, we've created the Cespedes Family BBQ Free Agent Matrix to determine where this offseason's top free agents could end up.
After seven stellar years in Kansas City, including a World Series title in 2015, Eric Hosmer enters free agency as one of the most enticing hitters on the market for two primary reasons.
First and foremost, Hosmer is coming off a career year in which he hit .318/.385/.498 with 25 dingers and 94 RBIs. Last week, he won his fourth career Gold Glove Award and first career Silver Slugger Award for his outstanding season. However, it's not just Hosmer's performance that will pique teams' interest: He's also one of the youngest players on the market, as he'll be only 28 on Opening Day 2018.
So where is Hosmer most likely to land? Let's take a look.
The Dark Horses
Mariners: The Mariners have been searching for a more permanent first-base solution for several years now. Yonder Alonso was a temporary fit for the second half of 2017, but he's also a free agent this winter. Mariners Hitting Prospect of the Year Daniel Vogelbach looks ready to be given a chance at the big league level, but can a team with postseason aspirations trust a rookie at first base all year long? Hosmer would be a big splash, but GM Jerry Dipoto seems more likely to target pitching.
Rockies: Add Hosmer to the MVP-caliber duo of Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado and let him hit in Coors Field 81 games a year. What's not to love? The Rockies are more likely to give the first-base job to Ian Desmond, their big signing last offseason, but after losing Mark Reynolds to free agency, we'll still keep an eye on them.
Cardinals: There have already been rumors surrounding St. Louis this offseason regarding its interest in bringing in a big bat. The Cardinals could go after Hosmer, move Carpenter back to third (or second) and bolster their offense that way. Only time will tell if Hosmer has any desire to stay in the state.
Red Sox: For a team that won the AL East, Boston's offense in 2017 was rather underwhelming. It ranked 22nd in OPS, 27th in home runs, and ultimately couldn't keep up with the Astros offense come postseason time (to be fair, no one could). With Mitch Moreland also entering free agency this winter, the Red Sox have a need at first base that could be fulfilled by adding Hosmer. You can already picture the opposite-field doubles high off the Green Monster...
Royals: Of the three star hitters entering free agency after lengthy stints in Kansas City (Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain), Hosmer seems like the most logical to return in 2018. While it will be challenging to replace nearly any of the three, Hosmer had become the true face of the franchise.
Jordan: Red Sox.