3 possible trade returns for Padres in a Ha-Seong Kim deal

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The short URL of the present article is: https://www.eastvillagetimes.com/49jd
Spread the love
AP Photo

The Padres are rumored to be taking calls about trading Ha-Seong Kim. What kind of return could the Padres get in such a deal?

Ha-Seong Kim is a fan favorite. Not only is he beloved by San Diego baseball fans, but his fanbase extends across the Pacific to Korea and even beyond. There is no way around it- trading Kim would be a massive blow to fanbase morale.

There are rumors that the Padres could trade the Korean infielder. He is coming off of the best of his three seasons in Major League Baseball, with 17 homers, a 110 OPS+, 5.8 WAR (11th among all MLB hitters), and a Gold Glove. With him being one season away from free agency, after that solid season, his value will likely never be higher.

The Padres have been in the payroll-slashing business most of this offseason, headlined by the Juan Soto/Trent Grisham deal. Kim is owed $8 million in 2024. If the Padres were to trade him, that would allow them more flexibility in addressing other holes around the roster.

San Diego is faced with a decision-extend him despite their payroll concerns, trade him at this highest value, or risk him walking away after 2024 for almost nothing.

The Friars have a plethora of infielders. Jake Cronenworth, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts all can play infield, most at multiple spots. Cronenworth is more valuable at second base. His first season at first base was a failure.

Kim’s value is high, given his success on the field and relative affordability this season. However, whoever acquires him would be getting him just as a one-year rental. What would the package back to the Padres look like?

First, the Padres should be picky about who they acquire. Part of the return should be a player or players that can contribute right away in 2024. There is precedent for teams trading for one-year rentals and swapping MLB-caliber players in return. The Mariners and Brewers made a trade last season, with Kolten Wong going to Seattle and Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro heading to the Brewers.

Specifically, the Padres should target starting pitching and outfield. Let’s take a look at three trade scenarios that may fit both sides. The criteria is the team needs to feel like they are in contention and need an infielder like Kim to try and push them toward contention.


I'd like this amount to  

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers had their best season in seven years in 2023, finishing six games below .500 and going 17-10 in September. They are looking for the next step in the first year post-Miguel Cabrera. ZiPS projects them at 80-82. They really struggled to score runs last year. They also had the third-most errors in baseball.

Sounds like a problem a Gold Glove utility infielder could fix.

The one issue might be Detroit’s reluctance to pay up for a one-year rental. However, they feel they have a bit of momentum after last season.

Kerry Carpenter is an interesting option for the Padres. He is a lefty outfield bat who is coming off of a 20-homer season with a team-high .811 OPS. He would slot right into the outfield and also possesses enough power to be a designated hitter when the time calls for it.

According to projections, he would be the Padres’ best hitter outside of the “Big Three.”

However, for a Gold Glove infielder on the rise, even as a rental, the Padres would likely require more than Carpenter. The Tigers have several solid pitching prospects. Tyler Mattison had a 2.41 ERA in just under 60 innings between High-A and Double-A last season. He currently ranks as the 28th-best prospect in the organization.

The Padres should take a flier on the 24-year-old along with the lefty Carpenter to insert into their lineup. The Tigers get a sure-handed middle infielder to hit either atop their lineup or to give depth after the sluggers bat.

Deal: OF/DH Kerry Carpenter and RHP Tyler Mattison


Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are once again feeling like they can contend for an American League East title. They were ousted from the playoffs in the Wild Card Series last year. Their second baseman and third baseman are currently Davis Schneider and Cavan Biggio, respectively. They could use an upgrade like Kim, who is solid defensively as well.

Biggio seems like a classic case of just needing a change of scenery. After hitting 16 homers with a .793 OPS in his rookie season in 2019, being fifth in Rookie of the Year voting, he has declined steadily each season. He began 2019 as a top 10 prospect in Toronto’s system.

Credit: AP Photo

Through 446 MLB games, he is batting .229 with a .734 OPS and 102 OPS+. With the expectations that come with having a Hall of Fame father in Craig Biggio, perhaps he needs a new organization and reset expectations as a utility bench player.

However, that cannot be the centerpiece of a deal for Kim. Daulton Varsho, as I detailed in a piece previously this offseason, would be a huge boost to the outfield. Only one player had more Defensive Runs Saved in all the league than Platinum Glove Award winner Fernando Tatis Jr. That player is Varsho.

If the Padres had an opportunity to acquire a Gold Glove-caliber centerfielder with 20-plus homer power, they should find a way to make it happen. Plus, Varsho is only just now entering his arbitration years and will cost very little over the next three seasons he’s under contract.

In this deal, the Padres get two viable big leaguers for Kim.

Deal: OF Daulton Varsho and UTL Cavan Biggio


St. Louis Cardinals

This is another scenario where both teams can get what they want.

The Cardinals pride themselves in defense, as they had the third-best fielding percentage in baseball last year. At the moment, their projected shortstop is Masyn Winn, who has just 21 games of MLB experience under his belt. He ranks as the top prospect in the Cardinals’ system and No. 50 in all of baseball. Perhaps they want a softer landing spot for their prized prospect than being the Opening Day shortstop.

Kim has played 186 games at shortstop in three MLB seasons, with a solid 22 Defensive Runs Saved.

The Cardinals have a surplus of outfielders. The odd man out might be Dylan Carlson.

Switch hitters are always valuable. Carlson is a switch hitter with over 150 games of experience at both center and right fields. His arm strength ranks in the 84th percentile.

His bat definitely leaves something to be desired at the moment. His last two seasons puts him at a 92 OPS+ over 204 games. He displays good plate discipline, with his whiff rate, chase rate, strikeout rate, and walk rate all above league average.

He has a similar profile to Jurickson Profar since his move to the outfield in 2021.

With Carlson’s limitations offensively, despite being a switch-hitting centerfielder, that won’t be good enough.

Steven Matz is a seasoned veteran left-handed starting pitcher. That is exactly what the Padres need. While his numbers over the last two seasons won’t blow anyone away (4.29 ERA in 153 innings), he looks like your classic “innings-eater” type. At this moment, the Padres need any type of veteran innings-eater, especially from the left side, to round out their rotation.

Plus, if Matz finds another gear under the tutelage of Ruben Niebla, the 32-year-old is under contract for two full seasons.

With how valuable Kim has been, a below-average-hitting outfielder and an aging average starter won’t cut it. The Cardinals would need to throw in an intriguing prospect like Edwin Nunez, a flame-throwing A-ball reliever.

Deal: OF Dylan Carlson, LHP Steven Matz, and RHP Edwin Nunez 


While none of these deals will be considered a sport-breaking blockbuster, a Kim trade could fill some important needs elsewhere on the roster for San Diego. His market is slightly diminished, with him being a one-year rental. Still, there is precedent for the Padres being able to ask for solid, ready-to-go MLB contributors in a possible deal.

While the team expresses a desire to extend Kim, their actions this offseason due to revenue concerns aren’t an encouraging sign.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *