If the Cubs are out on Matt Chapman, could a trade for this Gold Glover make sense?

Learn why Ha Seong Kim could be a valuable addition to the Chicago Cubs with his Gold Glove defense and offensive contributions.

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs are in a position where they’re looking to spend “intelligently.” They likely have enough room to sign either Matt Chapman or Cody Bellinger and remain under the luxury tax but it is unlikely that they could sign both and avoid penalty. 

Therefore, when it comes to literal monetary currency, the Cubs are not in line to be big spenders. 

That being said, they’ve already proven this offseason that they’re willing to spend their prospect currency if they believe it can help the team in the near term and future like they did when they traded highly touted left-handed pitcher Jackson Ferris for infielder Michael Busch and reliever Yency Almonte. 

For this scenario let’s imagine the Cubs have re-signed Cody Bellinger and they still have a little less than $10 million dollars to play with under the luxury tax. 

One player that should at least be on the Cubs’ radar is Ha Seong Kim, who insiders at MLBTradeRumors.com have listed as a fit for the Cubs. The utility infielder won a Gold Glove last year and had a 5.8 WAR season according to Baseball Reference. 

His offensive numbers were fine. He hit .260/.351/.398 with 17 homers and 38 stolen bases, but it’s his defensive prowess that would be most attractive to this team. 

The 2023 Chicago Cubs team was built around defense and the 2024 team has the ability to be even stronger. 

In this world where Cody Bellinger and Ha Seong Kim are added to the team they’d have potential Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base (Bellinger), second base (Nico Hoerner), shortstop (Dansby Swanson), third base (Kim), left field (Ian Happ) and center field (Pete Crow-Armstrong). 

That would also give the Cubs the ability to move Michael Busch to DH so that he can focus on the reason the Cubs acquired him in his first full season in the majors rather than having to play in the field.

Finally, Kim is also only under team control for the 2024 season. There’s a mutual option that will almost certainly be declined for 2025, but for all intents and purposes, the Cubs would be acquiring a Gold Glove third baseman for $7 million dollars for the 2024 season that could act as a placeholder while the 2023 first-rounder Matt Shaw continues to develop in the minors

Considering that the Padres are seemingly trying to be competitive again sooner rather than later the compensation likely wouldn’t be a teenager like Jefferson Rojas or Cristian Hernandez. That being said, if they keep him for the 2024 season they run the risk of losing him for nothing, so the cost shouldn’t be exorbitantly high. 

So let’s throw out an offer of our number 12 prospect, Alexander Canario and our number 7 prospect, James Triantos, and see what happens. Triantos was just named a top second base prospect in baseball and Canario made his major league debut last season but there’s seemingly not a place for him in the near future. 

This team is close to being good enough to make the playoffs. If they manage to sign Bellinger and complete a trade for someone like Kim they become instant contenders while maintaining all of the major prospects in the system for a trade at the deadline. 

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