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.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.