The Royals don’t need Eric Hosmer

Alex Burbidge, Reporter

As Eric Hosmer strode into the batters’ box on Oct. 1, 2017, most fans in Kauffman Stadium knew that it would be his last appearance in a Royals uniform. On Feb. 19, fans’ fears were confirmed as the first baseman signed an eight-year, $144 million contract with the San Diego Padres.

During his time in Kansas City, Hosmer was a fan favorite. Hitting .318 as a Royal in 2017, he also won four Gold Glove awards, the 2016 All-Star Game MVP (coincidentally played in San Diego), and the Silver Slugger Award for first basemen last year.

A $144 million price tag is one that the Royals simply couldn’t afford. Taking into account the large contracts of Alex Gordon, Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy and Salvador Perez, each with a $50 million or more contract, adding Hosmer’s contract would have been far too much money for the Royals to spend.

Many fans felt that by letting Hosmer, as well as Lorenzo Cain and Jason Vargas, walk away, the franchise that had won a World Series just three years ago would be relegated to mediocrity and forced to rebuild. However, Dayton Moore, Royals general manager, isn’t phased by the three leaving, attempting to stay competitive by signing players such as Jon Jay, Ryan Goins and Lucas Duda.

Contrary to many fans’ opinions, the Royals don’t need Hosmer. Advanced defensive metrics suggest that he is overrated at first base, posting a -7 defensive runs saved in 2017, which is far below the average player. He is also the epitome of inconsistency, hitting .293 or better in every odd-numbered year, but sporting a batting average of .270 or worse in every even-numbered year.

Losing Hosmer will not affect the outcome of the Royals’ season. It will most likely be a losing year anyway, waiting for the horrendous contracts of Gordon and Kennedy to expire, as well as starting lackluster players such as Lucas Duda Alcides Escobar and Jorge Soler. No matter what happens, barring a miraculous turnaround from last year’s 80-82 season, Hosmer leaving Kansas City for San Diego was for the better.