Eric Hosmer is 26 years old. In his eight years with the Kansas City Royals, he has signed a $6 million signing bonus, made his major-league debut at 21, earned three Gold Glove Awards, appeared in two World Series and claimed a world championship last fall — after being involved in the iconic moment of the series, a game-tying dash to home plate in the ninth inning of Game 5.
Then came Tuesday night in San Diego. Hosmer was voted Most Valuable Player Award of the All-Star Game, won a Chevrolet truck — which he immediately gifted to his father — and then hopped a charter flight to the ESPYs in Los Angeles.
Yes, life is good for Eric John Hosmer. But that doesn’t preclude him was having a bizarre (and mildly irrational) fear, which he confirmed this week in San Diego.
Hosmer, it seems, is terrified of New York City taxis.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
“They don’t stop for anybody,” Hosmer says.
The revelation came on Monday during media day at the All-Star Game, which, yes, is not exactly a repository of important journalism. But this is something Hosmer takes somewhat seriously.
“They kind of just zoom right through there and you always see such a small space, and they just speed right through it,” Hosmer said. “I’ve had some close calls in some cabs.”
A television reporter then asked Hosmer if that meant he was an “Uber guy”. Hosmer said yes before pausing for a moment. He thought about it.
“They’re kind of the same deal,” he said. “But I’m definitely an Uber guy.”
And with that, let’s get to this week’s Royals Mailbag. Earlier on Wednesday, we did a Facebook Live chat, which you can find here. It was our first, and it was a little rocky at parts. But we may break it out again soon. Thanks for watching.
Let’s start here: The Royals are 45-43 entering a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers, who are a half game ahead of them in the AL Central. On Monday, they will return to Kansas City and open a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians, who are seven games up.
Here is the Royals’ upcoming schedule
▪ Three against Detroit on the road
▪ Three against Cleveland at home
▪ Three against Texas at home
▪ Three against the Angels at home
▪ Four against Texas on the road
Here are the current AL Wild Card standings:
Boston, 49-38, —
Toronto, 51-40, —
Houston, 48-41, 2 GB
Detroit, 46-43, 4 GB
Kansas City, 45-43, 4.5 GB
Chicago, 45-43, 4.5 GB
Seattle, 45-43, 5 GB
New York, 44-44, 5.5 GB
And finally, here are a couple things to keep in mind. Two years ago, the Royals were 54-52 on July 30. They elected to stand pat, holding onto James Shields. They won 10 of their next 11, earned a wild card spot, and went all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
In general, Royals general manager Dayton Moore has a history of sticking with a plan. If the Royals are within five to seven games of the final wild card spot, or if they are still within relative striking distance of the division lead, it would be hard to see them selling.
If they were to open the second half by going worse than 5-11 or 4-12 in their first 16 games, the calculus could always change.
Dozier is still relatively new to the position. He’s only made 10 starts there. It’s hard to know how he could project in the long run. He played shortstop in college and is viewed as physical player with solid athleticism. He likes playing the position. He is also close to 6 feet 4 and 220 pounds and would lack the high-end range that the Royals covet while playing at Kauffman Stadium.
Ned Yost and Rusty Kuntz.
The Royals currently have four starters in their rotation: Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy, Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura.
They need a fifth.
Chris Young is still sorting through his season-long struggles. Dillon Gee is perhaps best suited as a long reliever. Kris Medlen’s shoulder is on the mend. Left-hander Brian Flynn could be an option to eat some innings in the rotation if need be.
As a result, the Royals have monitored the trade market. They may have to make a deal just to get through the season. But it remains to be seen whether the organization has the minor-league pieces to win the bidding war for one of the top available arms.
The Royals have indicated that Vargas could be ready to go on a rehab assignment in August and return to the Royals in September. But for now, everything would have to go nearly perfect for that scenario to play out. Minor, meanwhile, remains a wild card after experiencing shoulder fatigue during a rehab assignment in late May.