Somewhat recently, a rumor popped up linking the Cubs to several young players that may need a change of scenery, with one of them being Ha-Seong Kim. It was interesting to see Kim linked in a rumor like this, but the question is, does it make sense for the Cubs?
There’s not necessarily a clear-cut answer here. Kim is just 26 and a premier defender at a critical defensive position. The issue with the South Korea native lies in his bat. Kim slashed a pretty poor .202/.270/.352 last season with the San Diego Padres.
Prior to coming to the U.S. Kim showcased a much stronger skillset offensively while playing in the KBO, and though it is a different level of competition, it should be expected that Kim will show at least some improvement from what he did a year ago. Even with improvement, however, it’s still fair to wonder whether he can get his bat to a league average level or not.
Something else interesting to note about Kim is his contract. Kim currently is on a four-year, $28 million dollar deal, which could be seen as a bargain should he turn things around offensively, but there’s actually an argument against the Cubs taking his contract on.
Kim’s situation can be compared to that of David Bote. Should Kim be brought him, he’d likely be a backup utility infielder with a somewhat high price tag given his production level. It’s hard to imagine Kim starting over Nico Hoerner, who is cheaper, younger, and, an all-around better player as things currently stand.
Kim would almost certainly be in the same role as Bote is now, and that makes a move for Kim somewhat redundant and unnecessary. The Cubs are in a position to easily take a contract like this, but it makes more sense to use that flexibility elsewhere, like potentially taking on the Hosmer or Kiermaier contracts for valuable prospects.
Another thing to consider is whether or not the Padres would even trade Kim. The Padres previously had a logjam on their infield, but the trade of Adam Frazier opens up the possibility of them sliding Kim over to second and Fernando Tatis Jr. back to shortstop.
The Padres also have an incredible amount of money invested in its infield, and as long as they have Hosmer, in particular, it makes sense for them to keep a relatively low-cost player like Kim around as an option at second base so that Jake Cronenworth can move around as-needed.
A Ha-Seong Kim deal may appear logical and enticing from the outside, but the Cubs would be better off pursuing other avenues. He’d occupy many of the same roles the Cubs already have filled which makes him an illogical fit for the roster. There are also reasons to believe San Diego wouldn’t part with Kim for now, so a Cubs trade for Kim just doesn’t seem realistic at this moment.