Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who was killed in an automobile accident early Sunday morning, was laid to rest yesterday in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. This story from the Kansas City Star, who had reporters Vahe Gregorian and Maria Torres on the scene, is touching, evocative and above all sad.
The funeral took place on the field of the ballpark where he learned to play the game as a boy but was attended by the teammates with whom he scaled to baseball’s greatest heights, his manager Ned Yost and Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
Sal Perez gave the eulogy:
“He wasn’t just a teammate or a friend. He was a brother. We’ve known him since he started playing for Kansas City. His moments aside, he had a big heart. It’s incredibly sad what we’re going through right now . . . I regret the loss of our brother Ventura. Only God knows why he does these things. “I love you. And on behalf of the Kansas City Royals, I wish for all of you strength.”
Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Getz, sang at the ceremony.
Rest in peace, Yordano Ventura.
Free agent third baseman Trevor Plouffe has reportedly been drawing interest around the league, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Braves and Royals are rumored to have shown interest alongside the Red Sox and Athletics, though no contract talks have emerged as of yet.
Plouffe, 30, was outrighted by the Twins in November after rounding out a seven-year run with the club. He slashed .260/.303/.420 with 12 home runs over 344 PA in 2016, but logged just 84 appearances after missing several months with an intercostal strain, cracked rib and left oblique strain.
Plouffe got lost amid the reshuffling of the infield and outfield when the Twins tried to accommodate Michael Sano last season, but a clean bill of health and a steady gig could see him return to his career-average .727 OPS and 22-homer rate in 2017. While the Red Sox are not thought to have room on their roster or enough space on their payroll for another significant commitment (though previous reports from the Boston Herald mention a potential one-year, $2-3 million deal for the third baseman), Cafardo notes that the Royals could be a good fit for the infielder if they consider trading Mike Moustakas. Like the Royals and Red Sox, the Braves appear to have the hot corner set for 2017, but could sign Plouffe to a short-term contract to complement Adonis Garcia and Rio Ruiz if necessary.