The Padres have reached a deal with South Korean infielder Ha-seong Kim, per a report from The Athletic’s Dennis Lin. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the contract is for “at least four years”:
The Padres have reached an agreement with Ha-seong Kim, a source tells The Athletic.— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) December 28, 2020
Ha-Seong Kim has deal with Padres. At least 4 years. Kim hit 30 HR for Kiwoom last year playing SS and 3B. Obvs the a Padres are good at those spots but they will make it work. @dennistlin 1st— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 28, 2020
Kim, 25, was one of the KBO’s most consistent performers and the top player the league posted this offseason. The 5-foot-9, 167-pound infielder has a .294/.373/.493 slash line with 133 homers over seven seasons with the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes and posted a career-best .306/.397/.523 slash line with 30 homers in 2020.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Padres utilize Kim, who has experience at all four infield positions but has only played shortstop and third base since 2015. He’s certainly not going to see much action at either of those positions with San Diego’s best two players being third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. It also seems unlikely that there would be much of an opportunity at second base with Jake Cronenworth, who finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2020, holding that position down. With that said, Lin has reported that the Padres are deep in talks to acquire starter Yu Darvish from the Cubs, so perhaps GM A.J. Preller will move his incumbent second baseman in that deal and open up an everyday spot for Kim.
If San Diego holds on to Cronenworth, the right-handed hitting Kim may have to take on a utility role, which will require him getting comfortable in the outfield, though the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported Monday that the team could also move Cronenworth to the outfield, freeing up consistent playing time for Kim at second base.