Kansas City, Mo. The Royals agreed to contracts with first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Luis Mendoza on Saturday, two days before pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training.
Hosmer will make $502,500 after putting together a stellar debut season in 2011. Moustakas will make $487,250 after also getting his initial big-league call-up last year, while Cain will make $480,850 and Mendoza $488,925.
All four players have fewer than three years of service time, which means their contracts could be set at the club’s discretion. The remaining unsigned players on the Royals’ 40-man roster are right-handers Louis Coleman, Greg Holland and Vin Mazzaro, left-hander Danny Duffy, catcher Salvador Perez and infielders Alcides Escobar and Johnny Giavotella.
Pitchers and catchers report on Monday while the rest of the squad reports Friday. The first full-squad workout in Surprise, Ariz., is scheduled for Feb. 25.
Royals owner David Glass told The Associated Press last month that he’s already indicated to general manager Dayton Moore to think about long-term deals for some of the franchise’s top young talent, including Hosmer and Moustakas, considered two of its cornerstones.
Hosmer hit .439 over his first 26 games with Triple-A Omaha last season, essentially forcing the Royals to bring him up to the majors. He responded by hitting .293 with 19 homers and 78 RBIs and getting plenty of attention for the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Moustakas also started off in Triple-A, and initially struggled when he was called up in early June. But the Royals stuck with him, and he broke through in August, hitting .352 with four homers and 12 RBIs over the final month of the season.
Cain is expected to take over in center field after the team sent outfielder Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez during the offseason.
The speedy Cain .312 with 16 homers, 81 RBIs and 16 steals in 128 games at Omaha last season.
Mendoza revamped his mechanics last season and wound up earning pitcher of the year honors in the Pacific Coast League, where he went 12-5 with a 2.18 earned-run average for Omaha.
Sanchez, Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar are considered the top three arms in the Kansas City rotation. Mendoza will compete in spring training with Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy, Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery, among others, for the final two starting jobs.