Ha-Seong Kim calls Padres top MLB team


Ha-Seong Kim, by all accounts, was one of the best and most complete infielders in the free agent market this winter. The Padres, by any estimate, already had one of the best and most complete inner fields. Obviously, it was not a deterrent. Quite the reverse, in fact. Kim and the Padres are clearly a

Ha-Seong Kim, by any estimate, was one of the best and most comprehensive on the free agent market this winter.
The Padres, by any estimate, already had one of the best and most complete inner fields.
Obviously, it was not a deterrent. Quite the reverse, in fact. Kim and the Padres are clearly a suitable match.
On Tuesday night, the Padres hosted an introductory video conference for Kim, who signed a four-year, $ 28 million contract last week. Immediately, Kim put on a confident figure, proclaiming the Padres as World Series contenders and setting his sights on winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2021.

Kim began his press conference by reading a statement in which he rocked his hat to all of the starting Padres – Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Jake Cronenworth and Eric Hosmer – calling them “great talents”. Almost instantly, Kim was asked why he would choose to join an infield with returning starters in all four places.
“The Padres are not just a contender but [could] become a World Series champion this year, ”Kim said in Korean through an interpreter. »I want to be part of a winning team. That’s why I joined the San Diego Padres. I can play any position in the infield. “
This is precisely the role the Padres want Kim to play. The way they see it, there’s plenty of room for a versatile infielder. The players are injured. Players need days off. The players collapse.
And, of course, if all five of the Infielder Padres players are healthy at the same time and all five need a place in the starting lineup, there’s always a possibility that Cronenworth or Kim could take a look. in the outfield. But it will work out later.
“We’ll get to spring training, we’ll really start digging more when we have everyone on the pitch,” said Preller. “We are convinced that we have players who can move around.
“Again, he also goes from 60 games to [162] Games. We’ve talked about it a lot as a group here. Last year was really a sprint. This year is back to a marathon. … We will keep our players cool. ”

Although Kim played the shortstop and third base mostly in Korea, he is likely to see most of his second base action with the Padres. Kim could potentially serve in a squad with left hitter Cronenworth.
But Cronenworth brings a similar kind of versatility, having played all four positions on the pitch last season. It seems more likely that the two will continue to play steadily, as the Padres give their infielders – and perhaps their outsiders – regular breaths by moving Cronenworth and Kim around the field.
“We’re going to look at all of the options and figure that out,” Preller said. “But at the origin and right out of the door, we see [Kim] as an infielder. “
Kim’s glove is not at the level of Cronenworth, who is profiled as a four-position limit elite defender. But the Padres expect an above-average defense from Kim on second base. They also expect great things on the plate. Kim hit .306 / .397 / .523 with 30 home runs in the KBO last season.
It’s quite an addition to an offense that sends starters back to eight positions and has arguably the best infield in baseball. It didn’t take long for Kim to see how eager he was to work with the current Padres Infielders quartet.
“They are great players,” he said. “They have more experience. Just by training with them and playing with them, I will learn and grow as a player. “
Kim spent most of his press conference oscillating between conflicting emotions – humility for an opportunity he called “my dream” and an endless supply of confidence that he will make the most of it.
Of course, there’s no shortage of confidence in the Padres’ infield. As newly acquired southpaw Blake Snell noted last week, the Padres could be the most “swagg” team in the league. Kim, whose bat flips rival Tatis’s, clearly intends to add to that.
“It’s truly an honor for me to join the San Diego Padres, the best baseball team in the major leagues, with incredible firepower and a great pitch,” said Kim. “2021 will be an incredible year – for me and for the Padres. “
Bold. These days that’s how the Padres like it.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on twitter @ajcassavell.


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