The Royals are trying to re-sign Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, two of their big three free agents, according to a report from MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman on Sunday. But according to the report, they "appear to have all but given up hope" that they'll be able to keep the third, Lorenzo Cain, in Kansas City.
Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain -- core members of the Royals teams that won the American League pennant in 2014 and the World Series in '15 -- all received qualifying offers from the Royals last week. According to Heyman, reject the one-year, $17.4 million deal for 2018, but by the Royals having extended the offer, it means they'll get Draft-pick compensation should any of the three sign elsewhere.
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Kansas City has been expected to cut payroll in 2018, but the club would like to keep Hosmer, a team leader who's spent his entire career with the Royals and had a career year in 2017. The 28-year-old hit .318/.385/.498 with a career-high-tying 25 home runs and 94 RBIs, winning AL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at first base.
It now appears the Royals will make a similar effort to retain Moustakas, another career Royal coming off his best season. Moustakas set the single-season franchise record with 38 homers in 2017, and the 29-year-old third baseman was named the Players Choice AL Comeback Player of the Year.
Cain is also coming off a strong season, hitting .300/.363/.440 with 15 homers and 26 stolen bases while playing a stellar center field -- his 15 Outs Above Average, according to Statcast™, was fifth best of any outfielder. But according to Heyman, the Royals expect the market for the 31-year-old, who is older than Hosmer and Moustakas, to exceed what they'd be willing to give him. Teams like the Rangers, Mariners, Giants and Dodgers could pursue Cain.