Will Kim Ha-sung (San Diego Padres), who was embroiled in trade rumors this winter, spend his fourth season in San Diego after entering the big league.
Dennis Lin of the U.S. sports media “The Athletic” said on the 11th (Korean time) that “I think so,” when asked if trading Kim Ha-sung would be the best opportunity, and predicted, “Kim Ha-sung is the player who received the most attention this offseason among trade candidates. There are nine months left until he acquires FA (free contract) qualification, and San Diego is unlikely to raise the money necessary to extend his contract.”
“If promising Jackson Merrill is ready, he will be able to replace Kim Ha-sung somewhere in the infield at a low price,” he said. Lin thought that if San Diego, which is trying to reduce its size, maintains its current stance, it could find alternatives within the team along with Kim Ha-sung’s trade.
However, Lin explained, “Kim Ha-sung may be traded before the opening two consecutive games (Seoul Series), but the possibility is low. San Diego is trying to be competitive this year, and Kim Ha-sung can provide great value to the team with an annual salary of $8 million,” adding, “From the team’s point of view, there is room to maintain high expectations for Kim Ha-sung. As injuries occur in other teams during spring training, demand for central infielders may increase, or injuries may occur within the San Diego team.”
However, some analysts say that Kim Ha-sung is unlikely to be traded. The Major League’s official website MLB.com reported on Monday about San Diego’s situation at first base, referring to Kim Ha-sung and Jake Cronenworth, who had emerged as targets of trade during the Stove League.헤라카지노주소
The media said, “There have been a lot of rumors about potential deals related to Cronenworth or Kim Ha-sung. Both players are very useful players that San Diego wants to keep,” adding, “The Padres don’t have to move. For now, it seems more likely to catch both Cronenworth and Kim Ha-sung.”
“I think Cronenworth will take the first base in the current roster award. At second base is Kim Ha-sung, the Gold Glove National League utility winner and a fielder who is better than Cronenworth,” he said, adding, “If Machado starts the season as a designated hitter until he returns to third base early in the season, Kim Ha-sung may take the third base and Cronenworth may take the second base.”
Kim Ha-sung, who has been verified through the KBO League and the international arena, entered the Major League by signing a contract with San Diego for a total of 39 million dollars (a four-year guarantee of 28 million dollars) for 4+1 years ahead of the 2021 season. It has already been three years, and this is Kim Ha-sung, who is entering his fourth season in the big league this year.
Kim Ha-sung’s value was not very high until 2021 (he had a batting average of 0.202 with eight homers, 34 RBIs and six stolen bases OPS of 0.622) and 2022 (he had a batting average of 0.251 with 11 homers, 51 RBIs and 12 stolen bases OPS of 0.708). However, it was last year that the trend changed. Kim Ha-sung recorded a batting average of 0.260 with 17 homers and 60 RBIs OPS of 0.749, recording 140 hits in 538 at-bats in 152 games, and achieved “career high” by posting double-digit home runs and stolen bases for the second consecutive year.
In defense, he not only played second baseman (106 games, 856 ⅔ innings), but also third baseman (32 games, 253 ⅓ innings) and shortstop (153 ⅓ innings in 20 games), which were his main positions. He captured the attention of fans by showing a wide range of defense and stable catch ability, and became the first Asian infielder to hold a gold glove, beating Mookie Betts (LA Dodgers) and Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals) in the National League utility category.
As a result, Kim Ha-sung’s value has been greatly increased, and his performance has more than tripled since he first entered the Major League. Lynn of The Athletic said, “Shooter Dansby Swanson signed a seven-year, 177 million-dollar contract with the Chicago Cubs, and Trevor Story, who mainly played second base for the Boston Red Sox, signed a six-year, 140 million-dollar contract. Both center infielders showed better performance and had better offense than Kim Ha-sung. Kim Ha-sung was considered a Gold Glove candidate in the shortstop and second baseman categories and recorded 8.1 fWAR over the past two seasons. Unlike Story, there is no problem with arm health.”
“If San Diego does something unexpected before the opening, the seven-year extension contract, which guarantees $150 million from $130 million (about 171.7 billion won) this year, will also be effective,” he said, offering a specific amount. If Kim Ha-sung wins a contract of $150 million as Lin expected, he will receive more than the seven-year $130 million of Choo Shin-soo (SSG Landers), who moved to the Texas Rangers ahead of the 2014 season.
As a result, the team directly felt Kim Ha-sung’s performance, and his nickname “Awesome Kim” resonated every day at Petco Park, his home stadium. However, it was the club’s poor financial situation that caused Kim Ha-sung to be embroiled in trade rumors.
San Diego’s finances were hit hard in the aftermath of the local broadcaster’s bankruptcy last year, and concerns grew both inside and outside the team as it was belatedly reported that it had borrowed 50 million dollars to pay the team’s annual salary in September. Changes were inevitable.
Eventually, the San Diego Padres, which decided to downsize, let go of their main players one by one. In a trade with the New York Yankees on April 7, the team sent out its key outfielders Juan Soto and Trent Grisham, and in return received right-handers Michael King, Jani Brito, promising right-handers Drew Thorpe and Randy Vazquez, and catcher Kyle Higashioka.
Starting pitchers Seth Lugo and Michael Waka (Kansas City Royals), who have qualified as FA, also left the team, and Josh Hader is likely to wear other team uniforms. They came to consider “efficiency” rather than spending a lot, and they recruited Yuki Matsui and Ko Woo-seok in a contract that relatively eased the burden on the club.