First baseman Eric Hosmer and the Kansas City Royals avoided arbitration Wednesday by agreeing to a $13.9 million, two-year contract less than 24 hours before their hearing.
Hosmer gets $5.65 million this season and $8.25 million next season, and will be eligible for arbitration again in 2017. He is not eligible for free agency until 2018.
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The 25-year-old Hosmer hit .270 with 35 doubles but just nine home runs, though he did win his second straight Gold Glove. It appeared that he was leaning on his defensive prowess to help him land the $6.7 million he requested in an arbitration hearing, rather than the $4.6 million that the club had offered. He made $3.6 million last season.
Hosmer planned to fly from the Royals’ spring training home in Surprise, Arizona, on Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of a hearing Thursday in St. Petersburg, Florida. But the hearing was scuttled when the sides agreed to a two-year deal.
The contract not only brings the last of the Royals’ arbitration-eligible players under contract, it also kept general manager Dayton Moore’s streak intact: The club has not gone to a hearing since he took over the front office in 2006.
Hosmer has long been considered one of the franchise cornerstones, along with third baseman Mike Moustakas and left fielder Alex Gordon. He was the third overall pick in the 2008 amateur draft and shot through the minor league system in just three years.
He’s gone through plenty of growing pains since his splashy debut in 2011, but he appeared to hit his stride late last season, helping Kansas City end a 29-year playoff drought.
He was at his best in the playoffs, too. He hit .351 with two homers and 12 RBI as the Royals beat the A’s in the wild-card game, then swept the Angels and Orioles to reach the World Series, where they lost in Game 7 to the San Francisco Giants.