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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.

Padres trade Brad Hand, Adam Cimber to the Indians for Francisco Mejia

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Diego Padres have traded closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians. In return the Padres are getting top catching prospect Francisco Mejia.

Hand, the Padres’ All-Star closer, has a 3.05 ERA and 65/15 K/BB ratio and 24 saves over over 44.1 innings of work this season. In addition to helping an Indians bullpen which has struggled mightily this season, Hand will provide an insurance policy for the next two seasons given that both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are due to hit free agency this winter. Hand, meanwhile, is under contract for this year and next for a total of $13.5 million, with a $10 million club option for 2021.

Cimber is another fine reliever who, along with Hand, suddenly transforms the Indians’ bullpen. He’s a 27-year-old rookie, but he’s been a very useful one this year, posting a 3.17 ERA in 42 games, with a K/BB ratio of 51/10 in 48.1 innings. He’s pitched even better than that of late and has been particularly hard on righties. He’s under team control through 2023.

In Mejia, the Padres are getting the Indians’ top hitting prospect. A catcher — though not necessarily a great defensive one — Mejia has struggled in brief stints in the big leagues thus far but is a .291/.344/.438 hitter in six minor league seasons and, at times, has shown star potential. He turns 23 in October.

A nice piece for the Padres in the long term and an immediate upgrade to the Indians’ bullpen in the short term. In short: a baseball trade.