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Inbox: Could KC get Hoz with Moreland to Sox?

Royals beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers fans' questions
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore spent the majority of his time at the Winter Meetings laying the groundwork for potential trades that will assist a major rebuild.

Moore has two goals this offseason: Trade his desired assets to help restock the farm system, and trim payroll.

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore spent the majority of his time at the Winter Meetings laying the groundwork for potential trades that will assist a major rebuild.

Moore has two goals this offseason: Trade his desired assets to help restock the farm system, and trim payroll.

Oh, and the possibility of re-signing free agent Eric Hosmer may have gotten a boost when the Red Sox, believed to be one of the suitors for Hosmer, signed first baseman Mitch Moreland instead.

Hot Stove Tracker

With all that in mind, let's get on with the final Royals Inbox of 2017:

Tweet from @daniellep2594: what do you think our Hos chances are now that Moreland signed with the Red Sox?

Better. Much better. But it's still very iffy. Moore made it clear at the Winter Meetings that Kansas City has to keep payroll in the $115-120 million range or lower (it was about $150 million in 2017). The payroll right now is in the $115 million range. So to sign Hosmer, who could get $15-20 million a season, Moore will have to get creative to make room. But make no mistake: The Royals would love Hosmer to be around to shepherd in the youth movement and rebuild.

:: Submit a question to the Royals Inbox ::

Tweet from @RatliffJosh: With all eyes and ears on Moose and Hos, what are the rumblings regarding Escobar? I���d still love to see a full season of he and Mondesi after a Whit trade. But can���t foresee a Whit trade and no Esky. Dayton loves strength up the middle, right?

The truth is, there isn't a huge market for Alcides Escobar. He can still play high-quality defense, but his poor on-base percentage really hampers his market value. I think there's a good chance that Escobar could be around to sign on the cheap in late January or early February if the Royals want a backup plan in the event Raul Mondesi struggles at shortstop.

Tweet from @jhb2006: Will any of the rule 5 picks be a part of the starting rotation if Hammel/Kennedy/Duffy get moved?

Kansas City believes right-hander Brad Keller will get a chance regardless of who might get traded out of the rotation. Right-hander Burch Smith, the other Rule 5 Draft pick the Royals acquired in a trade, likely will head to the bullpen with his power arm -- he can touch 100 mph.

Video: Mayo discusses the Royals' Rule 5 selections

Tweet from @HuskersRob: Will the pending tear down of the Royals affect the upcoming negotiation of local TV rights? I would think so but they���ve got to get a better deal to be competitive.

This is a question I get a lot. The Royals' present deal with FOX Sports Kansas City ends after 2019. There are a lot of moving parts here, starting with Disney's acquisition of FOX and all its Regional Sports Networks. Will Disney turn these RSNs into ESPN-run operations (ESPN Kansas City)? Will Disney want to pour money into the RSNs? Whatever lays ahead, the Royals are hoping to beef up their local TV intake by anywhere from $20-40 million per year.

Tweet from @jessica4739: Any word on the status of Luke Hochevar? Is a reunion a possibility?

Moore said at the Winter Meetings that he has not spoken to Hochevar in a while. Kansas City isn't sure if Hochevar will return to baseball. It has been almost 18 months since Hochevar's thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, so Hochevar will possibly be ready for Spring Training. There would be interest in a reunion from the Royals' standpoint at a bargain price.

Tweet from @bballkansas: Centerfield near future and 3 years from now?

The near future will be Paulo Orlando. Moore said there is no interest right now in bringing back free agent Jarrod Dyson, so it will be Orlando's job to start 2018. But the Royals are really hoping Bubba Starling turns the corner this year and can take over the job at some point. Defensively, Starling is ready. Offensively, it is a big ask.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

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