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Report: Royals hoping to retain Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer

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FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman writes that the Royals are expected to make a push to re-sign both third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer. Both infielders are expected to reject their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offers. Heyman speculates that there has been a change in the club’s offseason approach; rather than heading toward a rebuild, as suspected, the Royals seem determined to remain competitive heading into 2018.

Moustakas, 29, is fresh off of his second career All-Star campaign. During his seventh run with the Royals, he slashed .272/.314/.521 with 38 home runs and an .835 OPS in 598 plate appearances. The general consensus is that he’ll net upwards of $100 million in free agency, which could prove tricky for the Royals if they hope to retain Hosmer as well.

While Hosmer likely won’t hit triple digits in free agency, that doesn’t mean he’ll come cheaply. The 28-year-old is still one of the hotter bats on the market after putting up career-best numbers with Kansas City. He batted .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs and an .882 OPS in 671 PA. Not only that, but he avoided the disabled list for the third straight season and appeared in all 162 games.

Given that the Royals will have their hands full trying to remain competitive for Moustakas and Hosmer’s services, it’s little surprise that they’ve given up on Lorenzo Cain‘s return. Heyman adds that the center fielder is also expected to reject his qualifying offer. Unlike Moustakas and Hosmer, Cain is not viewed as a “cornerstone player” in Kansas City, and is in line to receive offers well beyond those the Royals could comfortably match.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.