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What would an Eric Hosmer extension look like?

Yordano Ventura, Alex Gordon, and Salvador Perez are all signed to long-term extensions, could Eric Hosmer be next?

From World Series hero to lifetime Royal?
From World Series hero to lifetime Royal?
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off of their World Series victory, the conversation surrounding the Kansas City Royals has turned to maintaining their success, and keeping their core together. In the past year, they have made strides to keep their best players in blue and white, with Yordano VenturaAlex Gordon, and Salvador Perez all signing long-term extensions. Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas are also signed to short-term extensions, buying out their arbitration years. One of the remaining key pieces with a murkier future is first baseman Eric Hosmer, who is eligible to become a free agent after the 2017 season.

To get a gauge of what it might take to sign Hosmer for the long haul, I've compiled a small list of contracts signed by players who were comparable in age, production, and at least one season into arbitration. To better evaluate Hosmer's peers, the fWAR at the time of the extension and after the extensions is signed are included.

Player

Date of Extension

Team

Age

Service Time

Contract

WAR at time of extension

WAR since extension

Justin Morneau

1/25/08

MIN

26

3.168

6/$80M

8.1

10.8

Yadier Molina

2/29/12

STL

29

7.123

5/$75M

21

9.7

Adam Jones

5/25/12

BAL

29

4.139

6/$85.5M

12.1

13.3

Freddie Freeman

2/4/14

ATL

24

3.033

8/$135M

7.1

7.6

Brandon Crawford

11/17/15

SF

28

4.094

6/$75M

12.4

???

The above players are all under thirty years old, and at had at least three years of service time before signing long-term deals (each sacrificing several seasons of free agent eligibility). Additionally, each of the above players is fairly identifiable with their respective team - even Adam Jones, who actually debuted with the Mariners before being traded to Baltimore.

Assuming an extension would begin in 2017, in Hosmer's final year of arbitration, he will be 27 years old, with over five seasons of service time. He currently sits at a career 6.1 fWAR, but provided he matches his projections (2.5 fWAR from Steamer, 2.3 fWAR from ZiPS), he'll be more in line with others on the list, particularly if looking only at seasons shortly before the signings.

In general, the above extensions have worked out well for the teams as well as giving the players some financial security. Justin Morneau was a first baseman of Hosmer's current age, but with less service time and a higher WAR. At the time of his extension, Adam Jones was very close in service time to Hosmer's current amount. Freddie Freeman, younger and with less service time, achieved the most money of the above players after a 5.0 fWAR 2013 season, and has already exceeded his pre-extension production in the two seasons since, with plenty of time to pad that total.

Brandon Crawford was close in service time to Hosmer when he signed his extension in November; it will begin in 2016. While most of these players had achieved a higher career fWAR total than Hosmer at the time of their extensions, in 2015 he developed into an above average Major Leaguer and the team leader the Royals hoped he'd become when he was a top prospect in their lauded 2011 farm system.

After combining all the aforementioned extensions into account, I would sign Eric Hosmer to an extension reaching 6 years for $110 million. The above extensions were taken into account through a number of factors. Hosmer came in on the younger end of the age spectrum,and a six year commitment is in line with recent, young fan favorites. This extension would allow Hosmer to be a free agent at the age of 33 and give him the possibility of signing one more sizable contract during his career.

While the $18.3 million would be the highest AAV overall, coupled with the fact Hosmer has the lowest fWAR at the time of signing an extension, there is a reason I went this route. His agent, Scott Boras, is a man who detests signing extensions and would require extra incentive to steer his client away from free agency. As a player who projects to be entering his prime as an above-average regular, it wouldn't necessarily be an overpay, just closer to the market rate than the typical extension currently implies.

This contract would likely begin during the 2017 season, which will give Hosmer a raise from an $8.25 million salary in 2016 to an average annual value of $18.3 million. The Royals already have significant payroll commitments in 2017 and 2018, so structuring the contract in a way that decreases the burden up front (like the below breakdown) would be beneficial.

2017- $15M

2018- $15M

2019- $25M

2020- $25M

2021- $20M

2022- $10M

As I previously mentioned Scott Boras is Hosmer's agent, so it will be extremely difficult to sign him long-term before he hits the open market. However, there is no reason for the Royals not to try and keep one of their best players long-term. If the Royals are able to sign Eric Hosmer to the extension mentioned above, they will lock up another key member of their already iconic World Series Champion core.

. . .

Carl Triano is a contributor at Beyond the Box Score.