“Ha-Seong Kim, Ha-Seong Kim!”

Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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At home in Petco Park, fans have developed a chant–but not for one of the big four–Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Juan Soto, or Xander Bogaerts.

Instead, they have put their trust in a guy named Ha-Seong Kim, who is 5-foot-9 and 166 pounds. When the San Diego Padres signed him in 2020, the plan was for him to platoon with Jake Cronenworth at second or possibly move to the outfield. Instead, he has become one of the most valuable players on the team.

Kim accepted an offer of $28 million over four years, a pittance compared to Machado’s $350 million, Tatis Jr.’s $333, and Bogaert’s $280. Before signing with the Padres, Kim played for the Kiwoom Heroes, where he won the league’s Golden Glove award as a shortstop three times. In his last year in the Korean Baseball Organization, he batted .306/.397/.524/.921, OPS .866, hit 30 home runs, stole 23 bases.

Kim’s arrival got little attention in San Diego, as the Padres had also added Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, and Yu Darvish and offered Fernando Tatis Jr. a 14-year contract. In his first year, his defense stood out, but not his bat–.202/.270/352 OPS+ 73. However, his ability to play short, second, and third—and play those positions well—earned him playing time in 117 games.

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The following year, Tatis Jr.’s suspension gave him a chance to take over at shortstop. He appeared in 126 games (just behind Soto’s 131 and Cronenworth’s 127). and came close to winning a Gold Glove. Since arriving in San Diego, Kim has rarely taken a day off. Despite injuring his right shoulder early this month, he lobbied to DH the next day.

By 2023, Kim started appearing on Major League Baseball’s leaderboards.

            Wins Above Replacement 4th 6.2

            OWAR 9th 4.5

            DWAR 6th

Among his teammates, he’s near the top in a surprising number of categories.

            BA 1st  .278

            Runs scored 1st 75

            Hits 3rd 121

            HRs 4th 17

            RBI 5th 50

            OBP 3rd  .369

            OPS 4th .807

According to FanGraphs, Kim leads the San Diego Padres in WAR 4.7. Recently, he drove the fans wild when he hit his first grand slam in MLB. At his salary ($7 million), he’s a bargain. However, his four-year contract will end next year. Max Olafsson of the East Village Times recently detailed the many reasons the Padres need to extend Ha-Seong Kim.


Kim is one of the bright spots in a disastrous year for a team with a payroll of $251 million, third in Major League Baseball behind the New York Mets $33 6 million and New York Yankees $268. (Surprisingly, the Yankees also have a losing record at 64/68, slightly better than the Padres’ 62/72.)

After losing two or three games with the St. Louis Cardinals (58/76), Padres’ fans have little to cheer. Kim gives them a reason as he always hustles, often with his helmet flying off. (He’s tried multiple helmets but can’t find the right fit.) In honor of his hustle, fans recently received a special bobblehead with a removable helmet.

The front office should take heed of the chant and the popularity of the bobblehead. Fans are extremely disappointed overall, and ticket prices may actually increase. Extending Kim’s stay in San Diego would help keep fans interested and coming to Petco Park.

1 thought on ““Ha-Seong Kim, Ha-Seong Kim!”

  1. While it may be hard to distinguish in the continued amazing crowds of fans, most season of us (season tixs and regulars) are chanting, AW-SOME, Kim!!! 🤎💛

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