The following words are driven more by speculation than fact, more by conjecture than definitive truth, so feel free to end it here and watch that Chiefs fan jump onto the burning table again.

Go ahead, no offense taken.

Nearly everything about baseball this time of year is speculation and conjecture, so let me tell you that any hypothetical future story about how the Royals offseason ended with Eric Hosmer re-signing as a free agent would begin exactly like what just happened:

The Red Sox re-sign Mitch Moreland (for some reason), presumably taking themselves out of the bidding for Hosmer.

That leaves the Padres and Royals as the two clubs most closely linked, and the Padres would have to move a star who’s been good at first base back to the outfield where he’s been bad, and give up a second-round draft pick.

In summation: the most logical bidder gone, the same players available, pushing the market and the figurative game of musical chairs closer to the Royals’ favor.

A lot still needs to happen. The Padres have reportedly been deep in talks for Hosmer, and other destinations still make sense, including the Cardinals and Mets.