The Kansas City Royals completed a trade Monday that involved two former Padres, cleared a decent amount of salary and presumably strengthened their position in a race with San Diego.

In dealing first baseman/designated hitter Brandon Moss and left-hander Ryan Buchter to Oakland, the Royals shaved a reported $5 million in payroll while continuing to broadcast their intent.

Barely more than two weeks before spring training, homegrown first baseman Eric Hosmer remains unsigned. The Padres have been the only other public suitor for the 28-year-old, who is seeking a long-term contract in his first and possibly last foray into free agency.

“The economic part of it is very real to us,” Royals General Manager Dayton Moore told the Kansas City Star.

Monday’s exchange left the Royals without a natural first baseman. The Athletics surrendered controllable pitchers Jesse Hahn — like Buchter, an ex-Padres arm — and Heath Fillmyer.

Kansas City’s payroll now resides in the neighborhood of $107 million, according to Cot’s Contracts. In pursuit of Hosmer, the Royals still might face larger obstacles than the Padres, who have roughly $70 million committed for 2018.

But even before Monday’s trade, one source said the Padres believed the Royals may have made a more lucrative proposal to Hosmer.