"[Free agency] is a big part of your career," Hosmer said Monday. "Your career is limited. To have the ability to weigh your options and see what the best fit is for you [is important]. You earn your service time by doing your job on the field. We all deserve [free agency] to weigh it out.
"It's not saying that any of us won't be back here. It's just saying we have the opportunity to weigh out our options."
Teammate Alex Gordon tested the free-agent waters prior to the 2016 season, then signed a four-year, $72 million deal to return to the Royals.
"That's what could happen with all of us," Hosmer said.
A report surfaced Sunday that the Royals and Hosmer's agent, Scott Boras, have engaged in some preliminary discussions about an extension. But Royals officials have not confirmed it.
Hosmer said he certainly wouldn't be opposed to staying with the team that drafted and developed him.
"It's the goal of every player to sign long-term," Hosmer said. "And you want to make an impression on the team that drafted you. They are the ones that believed in you when you were 18 years old.
"[To get a long-term deal] means you've done [a lot] for the organization and the community. It says you've been doing your part on the field and off the field as well."
"I don't think I ever heard the words, 'World Series' in this locker room when I first got up here," Hosmer said. "It was just getting back to .500. But it means a lot to the guys who came up through the Minor Leagues together, for the guys in the [Zack] Greinke trade and so on. We felt we were the group that got this turned around. So yeah, it'd be nice [to stay together] ….
"[But] there comes a point in time in everyone's career where you've earned the right to be a free agent. You have to weigh out what's right for your family, what's right for you individually. You just see what's the best situation for you."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.