Ha-Seong Kim has left the KBO and joined the San Diego Padres.
The KBO has given the MLB several standout players over the last few years, but infielder Ha-Seong Kim might be the best offensive talent that the league has developed in some time. Kim has been the subject of a legitimate bidding war for his services, and the latest buzz is suggesting that the San Diego Padres, fresh off trading for Blake Snell, are the big winners.
Dennis Lin of The Athletic reported that AJ Preller’s standout offseason is only getting better, as Kim decided to sign with San Diego.
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 had sustained elite production for five seasons in Korea
Kim broke into the KBO at the age of 18, and the 25-year-old has been setting the league on fire ever since. Despite his diminutive size at 5-9 and 170 pounds, Kim has hit just a shade under .300 over the last six years, mixing in 131 home runs, 568 RBIs, and 130 stolen bases. Kim has topped 100 RBIs in three of the last four seasons, hitting at least 19 home runs six straight campaigns. His 30 blasts in 2020 were the best total of his career.
Kim, who played shortstop and third base for Kiwoom, will likely move to second base thanks to the presence of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. While this does leave Rookie of the Year runner-up Jake Cronenworth out of a starting spot, that’s a good problem for Jayce Tingler to have.
The Padres went from an afterthought to an intriguing young team to a championship contender in the span of a few offseasons, and the signing of Kim gives them one of the best infields in all of baseball. With Kim hitting in the heart of the order, the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field might get a few more souvenirs headed its way.