The phone rang after Eric Hosmer already had packed his suit and booked his ticket on Wednesday. It was his agent, Scott Boras, calling with good news. Instead of a flight to Tampa, Fla., the site of his scheduled arbitration hearing, Hosmer found himself the recipient of a two-year, $13.9 million contract with the Royals.
“It came down to basically almost driving to the airport,” Hosmer said on Friday afternoon.
Hosmer worried about the disruption of his routine here. He loathed the idea of flying across the country to listen to Boras spar with Kansas City officials about his worth. Rather than experiencing that acrimony, the two sides settled for a deal that pays Hosmer $5.65 million in 2015 and $8.25 million in 2016.
“That’s why we all hire representation,” Hosmer said. “So we don’t have to sit in that room and hear how bad we are.”
He can undergo arbitration again before 2017, his last season of club control. Hosmer may have sacrificed a few dollars in bypassing the arbitration system for 2016. The awkwardness of the process left him eager for rapprochement.
“Now that we can knock two years out of it, I thought it was a no-brainer to go ahead and do that,” Hosmer said.
Hosmer sported a cutoff T-shirt as he took batting practice on Friday. He estimated he added about 10 pounds during the winter. He hopes to improve upon his slump-ridden 2014 campaign, when he managed a mere nine homers and 58 RBIs with a .716 on-base plus slugging percentage.
No matter how he performs in 2015, he knows how he’ll be paid in 2016.
“I’m just glad that we all got it taken care of,” Hosmer said. “And next year, I don’t have to worry about it.”