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The $140 million question: Where will Eric Hosmer sign?

Eric Hosmer has a difficult decision to make: Kansas City or San Deigo? (AP Photo)

It’s been the slowest of slow offseasons so far, but things could be picking up. On Tuesday and early Wednesday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that first baseman Eric Hosmer, currently a free agent, has two separate offers on the table. And they’re both enormous.

Offer one comes from the San Diego Padres, who are reportedly offering Hosmer a seven-year, $140 million contract to call Petco Park home. Not to be outdone, the Kansas City Royals reportedly offered Hosmer a seven-year, $147 million contract, which is a franchise record.

With the offers so close in price and identical in years, Hosmer’s connection to the Royals might make this decision seem easy. Hosmer has spent his entire career with the Royals, and he won a World Series with them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Hosmer wants to return. Free agency isn’t just a chance for a player to get a big payday, it’s his opportunity to choose where he wants to play instead of being told. The nearly identical deals might just make this harder: with neither team offering significantly more money, the decision rests purely on Hosmer’s preference.

If Hosmer signs either one of these deals, he would be just the second of Jeff Passan’s top ten free agents to go off the board. Hosmer wouldn’t be the first first baseman to sign a big deal this offseason, though. Carlos Santana (14th on Passan’s list) signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Phillies in December, which has only benefitted Hosmer. He’s still the most talented first baseman on the open market, but every team that was interested in Hosmer had to use Santana’s deal as a gauge. Now Hosmer’s got two gigantic deals on the table that give him both money and some amount of security. (It’s not known if either of these contracts would contain a no-trade clause, but with two teams vying for his talents there’s no better time for him to ask for one.)

As if the Padres and Royals weren’t enough, there’s a third team entering the arena. According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the St. Louis Cardinals are interested in Hosmer as well.

Unlike the Padres or Royals, there are no reported or rumored numbers to go along with this interest. But if Hosmer wants to make them sweat, he could wait a little longer to see if some numbers materialize. Or if he already has the offer he wants, he could just end it all next week or tomorrow.

That’s the bottom line here: Hosmer is in control, and in more ways than one. He doesn’t just have his pick of offers, but he also essentially controls the free agent market. He’s the first free agent in 2018 to have several (reported) offers on the table. Teams are waiting to see what happens — where he signs, when he signs, and how much. When Hosmer makes his choice, he’ll have broken the dam. He’s essentially a domino; when he falls, you can expect the other free agents to follow pretty quickly.

Hopefully something will happen with Hosmer soon. Or with literally anyone. The offseason has moved at a glacial pace, and it’s about time the action started to pick up.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher