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?

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.