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Royals' competition for signing Eric Hosmer? Look at these teams

Rustin Dodd, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Baseball

-- Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox have long been considered as a possible landing spot for Hosmer. Their lineup lacked a middle-of-the-order presence last season after the retirement of David Ortiz. They have young talent all around the diamond, though not at first base, where Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez spent time last season. Hosmer's opposite-field power and hitting style would also play well with the Green Monster in left field at Fenway Park.

The Boston Globe's Alex Speier reported this week that evaluators around the game believe the club could prefer outfielder J.D. Martinez as a middle-of-the-order bat in free agency. But the potential presence of Boston in a Hosmer sweepstakes would likely serve to drive up the price.

-- New York Yankees: Hosmer's intangibles, including his clubhouse leadership and media-savvy ways, would play well in a Yankees clubhouse that continues to get younger. His power numbers would likely explode playing in Yankee Stadium. This is why the Yankees were considered a likely suitor for most of the season. At least two things could change that: The Yankees have said they wish to get under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold in 2018, according to the New York Post, and relying on young first baseman Bird would serve that end. In addition, they could be gearing up for a record-breaking free-agent class in 2018 that will feature Washington's Bryce Harper and Baltimore's Manny Machado. Perhaps there's still a way.

-- The Royals: It remains possible that no team will value Hosmer like the Royals. He is a part of franchise lore now, one of the faces of the 2015 World Series champions, and the leader inside the clubhouse. The Royals put high value on his defensive stability. He will likely be the focal point of the offseason, with the ripples from his decision shaping the future of the club.

-- Seattle Mariners: Looking for a dark horse contender to emerge? Could it be a team like the Mariners, owners of the longest playoff drought in baseball? They could use an upgrade at first base, and the franchise has won a free-agent bidding war before, landing Robinson Cano in 2013. That was four years ago, though, and under a previous front office, and there's been little indication, to this point, that the Mariners are interested.

-- Colorado Rockies: The Rockies snagged an unexpected National League wild-card spot in 2017, and like the Mariners, could also use an upgrade at first base. The Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a long-term deal last offseason, and he can play first base. But he also possesses the ability to move around. Again, is there interest?

-- St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals have missed the playoffs in consecutive years as the Cubs have taken control in the National League Central. General manager John Mozeliak has said he's not using the "rebuild" word this offseason, and that could mean an active offseason. St. Louis could use Hosmer's bat in its lineup. But then again, so could most teams. The Cardinals shifted infielder Matt Carpenter to first base in 2016, and he's under club control for three more seasons. So no, not a perfect fit.

-- Los Angeles Angels/San Francisco Giants: Finally, here are two big-market clubs with a track record of spending money. But these teams might not fit as well. The Angels, who also project as a possible landing spot for Moustakas, might not have the money for two big signings this winter. The Giants still have money invested in Brandon Belt. But in looking for possible suitors, put them on the list -- for now.

(c)2017 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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