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Rumor Central: Hosmer a priority in Kansas City?

The Kansas City Royals will have first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielder Lorenzo Cain enter free agency this offseason, and it is highly unlikely the front office will be able to retain all three core players.

With that in mind, the Royals reportedly will prioritize a pursuit of Hosmer, a three-time Gold Glove winner who batted a career-high .318 with 25 homers and an .882 OPS.

"Hosmer is expected to draw interest from a collection of big-market clubs. Royals officials remain hopeful the market may remain in a reasonable price range," writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.

"Even if the Royals decide to rebuild, Hosmer is the perfect veteran to shepherd a young group through the next era," adds Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.

Hosmer is just 28 and is represented by hard-line negotiator Scott Boras, so keeping him in Kansas City will not be easy.

Both Dodd and Flanagan predict the Royals will make qualifying offers to Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain. If the players turn down the $17.4 million offer and sign elsewhere, the Royals will land a compensatory draft pick after the first round if the contracts with their new teams are worth at least $50 million.

-- Doug Mittler

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