Yost: Royals have time to figure out first base

Dozier, Cuthbert are options as well as free-agent market

February 18th, 2018

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals lost out on their bidding for free-agent first baseman , who reportedly has an agreement with the Padres on an eight-year, $144 million deal.

Kansas City is believed to have made an offer considerably less than the reported figures of $140 million over seven years, though club officials have not confirmed the details.

"I thought going into the winter that there would be teams that would blow us away [on Hosmer offers]," manager Ned Yost said. "But that didn't develop. I was thinking [Hosmer would be offered] 10 years at 200 [million].

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"But it boiled down to a two-team race. He signed with them and you move on. Did we want him? Yes. We thought his legacy would be cemented in Kansas City. He is loved there."

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Now, Yost and his staff will need to come up with a solution at first base. The Royals only have one natural first baseman on their 40-man roster -- 21-year-old , who hasn't played above Double-A.

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The Royals' other internal solutions include , a third baseman/outfielder who could convert to first base. They also could try converting third baseman to first base. But Dozier and Cuthbert have played a handful of games at first base in the Minors and they are expected to get plenty of reps there in Spring Training.

and are two other first-base prospects, but neither are on the 40-man roster.

The Royals also may look to sign a budget-friendly free agent, though the list of candidates is not overwhelming.

"I have no solution right now," Yost said. "There are still free agents out there. That may or may not be a solution right now. There's not a lot of them out there. And they have to fit with what we want to do."

The list of available free agents at first base include , who is from suburban Kansas City and has expressed a desire to play for the Royals, and , Mike Napoli, and .

"It has to be the right guy," Yost said. "It has to be a guy with tremendous makeup and a team player, and preferably left-handed if we can get it. And you would like [a good defender]."

Any deal for a free agent likely would be short term because of prospects in waiting such as O'Hearn, Schwindel and Nick Pratto, the Royals' first-round pick in the 2017 Draft, who is ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect, and the fourth-best first-base prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

"We got plenty of time to figure out our strategy," Yost said. "We'll figure it out."