UPDATE: Baseball America is reporting that Hosmer signed a deal with the Royals at the deadline. Terms haven't been released as of yet, but I'll update when they are.
The deadline for drafted players to sign a contract is this Friday, 8/15. As always, there's a handful of high picks holding out to the last minute, and in all likelihood, everyone will come to terms before midnight on Friday. ASU recruit Eric Hosmer was drafted 3rd by the Kansas City Royals and negotiations are still apparently ongoing. But much of what's been written seems to indicate that although Hosmer is still pretty likely to sign a contract, it's not an absolute slam dunk.
Hosmer is represented by uberagent Scott Boras, who has almost singlehandedly remade the finances of the major league draft over the past 15 years. Year after year, high draft picks sign record breaking deals under his watch, as if pro clubs are helpless to keep themselves from throwing out cash by the bushel at his clients. This article from the Kansas City Star talks about the dynamic between club and agent.
We bring all this up because signing Hosmer is not a forgone conclusion. There were reports before the draft that Hosmer and his advisor, superagent Scott Boras, were looking for a bonus in the neighborhood of $7 million to skip out on his scholarship at Arizona State.....There's a little bit of a different feeling around Hosmer, who some think might be more willing to play college ball. Boras has always been a proponent of guys going to college. Some think that's just a negotiating position, and maybe it is to an extent, but I also think he believes it.
While KC has historically had decent success working with Boras clients, they are a small market team and you never know when they could decide that enough is enough.
Also, Hosmer himself doesn't seem to be the usual ballplayer who is only interested in money. This article from the Farmington (N.M.) Daily Times talks about his decision to come back for his Connie Mack team for the summer when he could have been at home enjoying his summer vacation.
"When Eric left last year, he said, I'll see you next year,' and I believed him," Redskins manager Joe Hayden said Saturday morning during his team's workout at the Farmington Sports Complex, a cigar dangling from his left hand. "Hos isn't driven by what drives a lot of young guys. Sure, he wants to make a lot of money, he wants to be a success, but he remembers his roots."
With all of the star power that left Tempe in the wake of a somewhat disappointing Super Regional finish that ended far short of the team's goals (even if they did lose to the eventual national champion), most were figuring that the team was going to take a significant step back. For all that Brett Wallace, Ike Davis & Co. were maligned for not performing up to expectations in postseason play, they led the Sun Devils to the best 3 year run of the Pat Murphy era. Adding a talent like Eric Hosmer would instantly allow them to replace a big chunk of the offense that was lost when those stalwarts moved onto the pros. It'd also quiet some of the critics who argue that Murphy doesn't bring in players who are interested in playing college baseball.
Certainly, the odds are still stacked high against Hosmer showing up in Tempe. Negotiations with top 5 pick Josh Vitters went down to the wire last year, but he still ultimately ended up signing on the dotted line of a professional contract. Expect a flurry of deals in the last hours and minutes before the 11:59 PM deadline Friday night. Cross your fingers though, that Eric Hosmer's name doesn't show up on that list and we get to look forward to seeing him in maroon & gold.