In recent years, it seemed as if San Diego was on a shortstop hunt. They had a starting shortstop, then they bought a shortstop, then they bought a shortstop. They even had a couple of high-end shortstops waiting in the wings at the minor league farm.스포츠토토
San Diego’s “shortstop riches” began with the debut of Fernando Tatis Jr. 24, the team’s top prospect and a major league talent. Tatis Jr. made his major league debut in 2019 and played in 84 games. Despite some defensive issues, everyone was excited to see a shortstop who could deliver both 30 home runs and 30 doubles. His energetic play on the field quickly catapulted him into the superstar ranks.
San Diego showed their faith by signing Tatis Jr. to an astronomical 14-year, $340 million contract ahead of the 2021 season. At the time, Tatis Jr. had only 143 career major league games under his belt, having never played a full 162-game season. But having seen Tatis Jr.’s talent from a young age, San Diego was confident.
But San Diego didn’t stop there. When Kim Ha-seong, 28, the best shortstop in the KBO, announced his intentions to play in the major leagues ahead of the 2021 season, the Padres jumped to the forefront of the posting and put him in a Geary uniform. San Diego’s plan was to use Kim at third and second base, but with Tatis Jr. as the clear starter, some critics said it was redundant to invest an additional $28 million over four years.
While this is understandable, the next move was more interesting. With Tatis Jr. and Kim Ha-Sung, the team signed All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 31, to an 11-year, $280 million contract ahead of this season. The idea was to move Tatis Jr. to the outfield and Ha Sung Kim to second base to make room for Bogart. In any case, San Diego now has three former and current All-Star shortstops.
Along the way, shortstop CJ Abrams, one of the team’s top prospects, was shipped to Washington in the Juan Soto deal. That’s why they decided to run now rather than later. Tatis Jr. and Bogaerts, along with Juan Soto and Manny Machado, could be seen as a way to create one of the best offenses in the league. However, while Tatis Jr. and Bogaerts have failed to live up to expectations, Kim has hit the jackpot.
On Nov. 21 (KST), Yahoo Sports named nine players who are “breaking out without realizing it” this season, and Kim, who is already “breaking out in a big way,” made the list. “Kim’s defense has been unquestionable no matter where he’s played,” Yahoo Sports wrote, “and San Diego’s third-best shortstop has grown into the team’s full-time second baseman. They went on to praise Kim for outperforming two “more famous” shortstops.
“By Wins Above Replacement (WAR), he’s not only the most valuable player in a (shortstop) trio that includes veteran shortstop Bogaerts and outfielder Tatis Jr. but the most valuable player in all of San Diego,” Yahoo Sports wrote. In fact, Kim’s WAR ranks first in San Diego according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.
While Yahoo Sports was disappointed that the ratings were more emblematic of San Diego’s underwhelming season than of Kim’s performance, they noted that “Kim’s (offensive) production has continued to rise since coming to the majors from the KBO. You can’t argue with his overall improvement,” he said, noting that Kim has gotten better every year at handling major league pitchers’ changeups. “Signing him looks like a win for San Diego,” he concluded.
There is also speculation that Kim will return to shortstop next year. With Tatis Jr. not being considered for a move to the infield, there are rumors of a position change for Bogaerts. Bogaerts’ defense had been improving since joining the Padres, but this year it’s been on a downward spiral again. As he heads into his mid-30s, he may be better served by moving to a position with less defensive demands to maximize his long-term offensive potential. Defense is definitely Kim’s strong suit.
San Diego manager Bob Melvin told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Ha Sung Kim is a great defender and has great instincts. He’s got great hands and he’s got great quickness.” “As you know, he’s one of the best defenders in the game, and his play this year could hint at a Gold Glove. Wherever we put him, he responds,” he praised.
Kim already has experience at full-time shortstop after Tatis Jr.’s injury and PED suspension last year. He logged a whopping 1092 innings at shortstop last year. This year, he is the team’s “second shortstop” to fill in for Bogart. At 21, he’s played 658⅔ innings at second base, 199⅓ at third base, and 119⅓ at shortstop. If he can maintain this year’s offensive production while playing shortstop next year, he could literally average $20 million a year and total $100 million.