A recent report in The Morning News (of Northwest Arkansas) late Wednesday indicated that the Kansas City Royals' signing of Eric Hosmer -- the American Heritage All-State first baseman-turned-No. 3 overall pick by the Royals -- "is a matter of when and not if."
The quote from J.J. Picollo, Kansas City director of player development:
"We wouldn't have taken him (Hosmer) if we didn't think we were going to sign him," Picollo said. "We were real happy that Hosmer was there (available). We had 15, 16 different reports on him and every one was very consistent in that he has a very, very high ceiling as an offensive player. Defensively, he has also been described as a Gold Glove guy."
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon from Ohio, where he is playing in his second year with the Midland Redskins summer team, Hosmer denied that the signing is imminent.
"I haven't decided anything," Hosmer told The Herald. "Probably around August we'll start cracking down on stuff."
Hosmer is signed with perennial baseball power Arizona State, and all indications are that Tempe, Ariz., remains a very real option for the 6-5 power hitter. That goes double because, as a Scott Boras Corp. client, Hosmer likely will command big bonus money from the Royals.
Meanwhile, from the way he describes his performace in the Cincinnati area, Hosmer appears to be building upon his reputation as one of the nation's top (former) high-school bats. Hosmer, who is DHing with the Midland Redskins, said he has two home runs through five games, and went 3 for 3 Wednesday with three doubles.
Hosmer said he'll be in Ohio into early August, with his pro vs. college decision likely coming soon after.
--Patrick Dorsey (e-mail)