Padres and Heroes Exchange Late Christmas Present

The Kiwoom Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization posted Ha-Seong Kim to allow major league baseball teams to negotiate a contract. The San Diego Padres won out, signing Kim to a four year $28 million contract. A fifth year mutual option could up that total to $39 million. The Padres get a talented player who could fill a valuable utility role in their playoff hopes. The Heroes get a $5.25 million posting fee to scout for another Kim or sign a top foreign player to a contract.

For those who follow the KBO, Kim is the player who replaced Jung-Ho Kang at shortstop after Kang signed with the Pirates. The deal worked out well for the Pirates for two years until drunken driving issues ruined his career. The Heroes were able to replace Kang with Kim and as a 20 year old shortstop he had a pretty good season (.290, 19, 73).

Next year the Heroes will replace Kim at shortstop with another Kim, Hye-Sung Kim. The 21 year old Hye-Sung played in a utility role last year for the Heroes, hitting .285 with seven homeruns and 61 RBIs. This is his fourth year in the KBO and it was about time the Heroes gave him a starting spot. The Heroes lose some power with the loss of Ha-Seong, but they hope to make up for that by investing the $5 million for a top foreign contract.

The Padres infield appears to be crowded with Manny Machado at third, Fernando Tatis Jr. at short, Jake Cronenworth at second and Eric Hosmer at first. In a 162 game season injuries happen and players need rest so Kim should be able to play in more than 120 games. There is also talk of using either Kim or Cronenworth in the outfield. Cronenworth also played a lot of first base when Hosmer got injured so he could possibly be tried out in the outfield and used at first base, allowing Kim to play second.

The Padres saw what the Dodgers did with their roster, using a couple players to fill in at multiple positions to either replace an injured player or give regular rest to their regulars to keep them fresh. The Padres could have the same plan for either Kim or Cronenworth, or possibly both. Spring training will ultimately define both players roles for the 2021 season.

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