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Royals trade with A's could open the door for Eric Hosmer's return

Could the Royals be angling to re-sign Eric Hosmer? Monday’s trade with the A’s looks like it. (AP)

The Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics pulled off a four-player trade Monday that centered around pitcher Jesse Hahn going to K.C. while veteran Brandon Moss and above-average lefty reliever Ryan Buchter went to Oakland.

On its own, it’s not particularly thrilling. But when you look at the Royals’ depth chart, it gets a little more interesting.

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Moss was, by default, their starting first baseman for 2018 with Eric Hosmer out on the free-agent market. Moss was the only person on the Royals roster with any significant time at first base and was the most expensive player in the deal, making a little bit more than $8 million this season. The Royals reportedly sent some money to Oakland, and are saving about $5 million toward their 2018 payroll.

It didn’t take for folks in Royalsland to start connecting some dots, starting with MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

To be clear here: $5 million and a hole in the depth chart doesn’t mean a Hosmer deal is imminent. Hosmer, one of the top free agents on the market, is going to sign for a lot more than $7 million. Try $100-plus million. But the Royals have said all along they’d love to have Hosmer back if it made sense financially.

Royals GM Dayton Moore sort of spoke to that idea, but didn’t really clarify anything for hungry hot-stove watchers.

Either way, the Royals need a new first baseman with Moss gone. So if they’re not going to pony up for Hosmer — which still remains to be seen based on his price and level of desperation — then they’ll need to do something. Maybe Logan Morrison’s agent should put in a call.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!