The Kansas City Royals are busy these days.
This afternoon, the Royals and their young first baseman, Eric Hosmer agree to terms, and avoided the arbitration process, at least for another season. Hosmer signed a contract for $3.6 million for the 2014 season, according to Joel Sherman, via twitter.
#Royals avoid arbitration with Eric Hosmer. He gets $3.6M
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 17, 2014
After a slow start last season, Hosmer turned it around about the same time as George Brett came on as the hitting instructor in late May. Hosmer finished with a .302/.353/.448/.801 slash line. He had a career highs with 188 hits, 79 RBI, and 34 doubles.
This deal is a big bump in pay for the 24-year old. Hosmer made $528,250 in 2013 so this marks a raise of over $3 million.
The Royals need Hosmer to take the next step toward stardom in 2014. While his numbers improved markedly over 2012, they were eerily similar to the stats from his rookie campaign in 2011. It wasn’t just with his bat that Hosmer improved; he won his first Gold Glove in 2013.
Hosmer needs to significantly improve his power numbers. In 1841 plate appearances, he has hit just 50 home runs.
The Royals need more power and production from Hosmer in the middle of the batting order. If he can increase his home run total to around 25 in 2014, and drive in around 100 runs, he would well on his way to becoming a star.
Of course, those numbers would mean another sharp increase in pay in 2015 when this whole process will be repeated. Still, if Hosmer could put up those numbers, the Royals would be willing to pay out more for a true run producer.
It would be nice if the Royals could somehow figure out a way to sign Hosmer to a longer deal. The more time that passes, the less likely it is that Hosmer will be in a Royals uniform past the 2017 season. If he makes the improvements the Royals need him to make, he will most likely price himself right out of town.
Eric Hosmer could be a star. Maybe 2014 is the year he puts everything together and is the offensive leader for the Royals.