Should the Royals lock up Eric Hosmer now?

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Eric Hosmer has played exactly five games in the major leagues and has made exactly 22 plate appearances. And Sam Mellinger of the KC Star says the Royals should lock him up right now:

Five games into his big-league career and he’s already batting third and drawing comparisons to Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez. That’s all great. It’s the lines to Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran that make Royals fans nervous, and the ones that are worth addressing this week.

In other words, the Royals should offer Hosmer a long-term and lucrative contract right now.

As he always does, Mellinger makes a compelling argument.  The key points: The Evan Longoria contract shows that you can get a good one signed young to a team-friendly deal. And that while Hosmer may be a Scott Boras client, as evidenced by the Carlos Gonzalez contract, Scott Boras isn’t the same Scott Boras today that he was a few years ago and may not be hellbent on taking everyone to free agency. Mellinger’s idea: try to split the difference between the Longria and Gonzalez contracts with Hosmer.

I wonder how much of the Gonzalez contract, however, was a function of Boras’ own evaluation of Gonzalez as less of a sure thing than a lot of young guys who break onto the scene. In other words, did his advice to Gonzalez to sign now represent an exception that he would not make in the case of Hosmer, who is much more highly touted than Gonzalez was at a similar point in his career?

What say you? If you’re the Royals, do you try to lock him up now or do you wait a bit, realizing that the guy won’t even be arbitration eligible until after the 2012 season, and maybe not even until after 2013?  If you’re Hosmer, do you consider it, realizing that, while guaranteed money is great, you did get a $6 million signing bonus a couple of years ago?

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.