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Trio turns down qualifying offers from Royals

Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain now free to sign elsewhere
MLB.com @beckjason

The free-agent trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain did not accept qualifying offers from the Royals, leaving them free to sign with any team they choose. It does not, however, rule out a return to the Royals.

What it means for the Royals is a compensation pick in next year's Draft for each player who signs with another club. Where that pick falls in the Draft order depends on size of the contract, according to the new system established under the collective bargaining agreement.

The free-agent trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain did not accept qualifying offers from the Royals, leaving them free to sign with any team they choose. It does not, however, rule out a return to the Royals.

What it means for the Royals is a compensation pick in next year's Draft for each player who signs with another club. Where that pick falls in the Draft order depends on size of the contract, according to the new system established under the collective bargaining agreement.

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Since the Royals receive revenue-sharing funds through Major League Baseball, based on revenues and market size, they would receive a pick between the end of the first round and the beginning of the Competitive Balance Round A for each of the players who signs a contract with another team for more than a total of $50 million. Any player who signs for less than a total of $50 million would net the Royals a compensation pick at the end of Competitive Balance Round B. The Royals could end up with five of the top 50 overall Draft picks next year if all three players sign elsewhere for $50 milllion.

If any of those players returns to the Royals, the team would not receive a pick.

The decision by the three not to accept the one-year, $17.4 million offers -- the mean salary of MLB's 125 highest-paid players -- was not a surprise. Though five players accepted such offers over the previous two offseasons, no player had done so over the three previous years of the system. The deadline for players to decide was 4 p.m. CT on Thursday.

All three Royals are expected to garner ample interest on the free-agent market. The Royals, too, could dip into the market to try to retain at least one of them. Hosmer, in particular, could be an option to stay put, but the All-Star and Gold Glove Award first baseman also looms as one of the most productive hitters available on the market at a prime age, having just turned 28 last month.

Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002.

Kansas City Royals, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas