08/16/08 3:06 AM ET
Royals sign top Draft pick Hosmer
No. 3 overall selection inks deal just before 11 p.m. CT deadline
By Mark Dent / MLB.com
So then it wasn't a surprise when Friday evening came around and nothing had been finalized. The Royals weren't worried. This is becoming routine.
Hosmer officially became a Royal about 10 minutes before the 11 p.m. CT deadline. The talks started early in the day and Deric Ladnier, the Royals' scouting director, said he and general manager Dayton Moore spoke with Hosmer's side more times than they would've thought.
Still, this deal wasn't done until very late. Not that it mattered. This was child's play for Moore and Ladnier. Last year, first-round pick Mike Moustakas, a Boras client, didn't sign until 11 minutes before the deadline.
"Our scouts saw that he had a presence about him at the time," Moore said. "We knew that Eric wanted to play."
The first baseman reportedly received a $6 million dollar bonus, which would be the largest signing bonus the Royals have given to a Draft pick.
The Hosmer deal was just the end of a good day for the club. The Royals of about five years ago seem no longer. They've now signed someone, fourth-round pitcher Tim Melville, who other teams passed on, and a first-round pick represented by Boras two years in a row.
"We're going to continue to do these types of things," Moore said. "To sign both of these players is a huge step for the organization in one day."
Hosmer's situation had all the ingredients for a long, excruciating negotiation process.
Hosmer, the No. 3 overall pick, could have gone to Arizona State, which was his leverage. Kansas City had Melville, a first-round talent picked in the fourth round, plenty of leverage there. And of course, Hosmer had Boras, the guy who squeezes extra dollars out of every franchise and says he always prefers his clients to go to college.
Word around Draft Day in June was that Boras would demand a large signing bonus for Hosmer, and, of course, that Kansas City would have trouble signing the first baseman.
But now the Royals have their man, and he should be "the man." Hosmer will likely jump to near the front of Kansas City's top prospects, if not to the No. 1 spot. That's what happens when you're regarded as one of the best high school power hitters.
Hosmer hit .470 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs and 49 runs during his senior year, and he already has something close to a Major League body. In the offseason, he'd work out close to seven hours a day and feasted on protein shakes, chicken and steak. All the work made him a chiseled 6-foot-4, 215-pound 18-year old.
"With my game, you can always increase your power," Hosmer said. "At the end of this season, I felt like I did at the beginning. It was the best I felt."
Hosmer, who played with the Midland Redskins this summer in an amateur league, will report to Arizona soon for instructional league. That's where Melville is going as well. The Royals believe they signed two first-round players on Friday, and that's certainly progress.
"If we're going to win championships in Kansas City," Moore said, "we have to take guys that can potentially be big-time players."
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.