The San Diego Union-Tribune, a leading media in the San Diego area, argued on the 8th (Korean time) that a significant salary increase is inevitable for San Diego to keep Kim Ha-seong on the team for a long time. It was pointed out that in a situation where Ha-sung Kim’s contract period was coming to an end, San Diego had to make a choice.
Ha-seong Kim signed a four-year contract with San Diego ahead of the 2021 season for a total of 28 million dollars (approximately 37.5 billion won). That’s an average of $7 million per year. Considering the amount of posting paid to Kiwoom and the amount of incentives, San Diego’s total investment is slightly larger than this. Until then, there was also a negative view that San Diego, which had solid infield players, had ‘duplicate investment’. However, it is not an exaggeration to say that Ha-seong Kim has already given all of San Diego’s investment.
When the statistics site ‘Fan Graph’ calculated based on the win contribution (WAR) against substitute players, Ha-seong Kim provided the team with a value of $3.9 million in the first year and $29.3 million last year. Of course, this calculation may not be exact, but considering the stellar performance this year, it’s clear that San Diego is already breaking even. The problem is then This is because Kim Ha-seong’s player value has soared, so more money must be invested to catch him.
San Diego and Kim Ha-seong have mutual options for the fifth year, but the possibility of Kim Ha-seong executing this is zero. After the 2024 season, it is certain that he will come to the free agent (FA) market and aim for the last jackpot of his life. In fact, if you qualify for FA, the original team loses priority, and in fact, most FA players choose to transfer to another team rather than remain in their original team. So, there are many cases where a player who is sure to catch an extension contract in advance before obtaining FA qualification.
Ha-seong Kim will turn 29 next year, and he is still a player who can spend three to four more years in his prime. Now he’s approaching 30, but he doesn’t feel like his athletic abilities are diminishing at all. If so, it is not unreasonable to expect him to sign a contract of at least four years. Short-term contracts of 2-3 years are highly likely to be blown away by Kim Ha-seong, unless the annual average amount is extremely high.
At this year’s level, the value of more than 20 million dollars per year is sufficient. Looking at the recent market prices of shortstops, we can conclude that it is possible. If the contract is for more than 5 years, there is a good chance that it will exceed 100 million dollars. Even the local media ‘East Village Times’ offered 150 million dollars for 7 years. However, there is a problem that San Diego’s team situation is not easy.
San Diego is well aware of the value of Ha-sung Kim, and Ha-seong Kim is also showing satisfaction in life in San Diego. each other needs each other But the first problem is that San Diego is already spending too much money on other players. It is also a very long-term contract. Players like Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts do. San Diego’s team salary this year is well over $250 million, ranking third in the league. It is at the threshold of the wealth tax (luxury tax).
Here, the pressure to catch Juan Soto (25) is also increasing. Soto is one of the best on-base players in the league. At the beginning of this season, he was sluggish and raised doubts, but he has already recovered the on-base percentage (.408) of 40%, and his OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) is also 0.908, which is 53% better than the league average. It is realizing the proposition that ‘a player who will rise will rise’.
Such Soto is known to have already rejected Washington’s 15-year total of $440 million (approximately 589.4 billion won), and Washington, who could not afford to bet a larger amount, traded Soto to Washington ahead of the trade deadline last year. I took a promising player. In other words, Soto, who will become a free agent at the end of next season, is likely to want a contract beyond this. Given San Diego’s current team payroll structure, even catching Soto will be a daunting task.
Even if they do not catch Blake Snell and Josh Hader, who will become free agents at the end of this season, Soto alone is a problem for San Diego. Ha-seong Kim’s contract is also urgent, but it is true that Soto is more valuable as a player anyway. Soto is highly likely to be ranked ‘0’. Giving Ha-Sung Kim more than $15 million a year could be a difficult task if he catches Soto.
On the one hand, promising players are coming up from below. San Diego traded CJ Abrams (Washington), the team’s top prospect, at the time of the Soto trade. It can be seen that he believed in Kim Ha-seong. However, the debut of Jackson Merrill (20), another promising shortstop, is slowly approaching. Merrill is the ninth-best prospect overall in the major leagues and the second-best prospect on the team. He is top class. He showed a relatively impressive appearance in spring training this year as well. He is evaluated as having a strong call-up in 2024.먹튀검증
Merrill has sophisticated striking abilities. He even comes out with favorable reviews saying that he is capable of 30%. In addition, he has formidable power and above-average abilities in both defense and main force, so it is possible to become an ‘all-round player’ like Kim Ha-seong. But the shortstop is Xander Bogarts, who has already signed an 11-year contract, and Manny Machado is at third base. In order to use Meryl, the second baseman position has to be vacated in reality, but with Kim Ha-seong, Meryl can also become an ambiguous existence.
However, trading Meryl like Abrams could be a picture that neglects the future too much. Excluding Merrill, there are not more top-notch prospects in the center infield, and this player is likely to be kept. If Soto is given up, Kim Ha-sung can afford to contract, but if not, Kim Ha-seong can give up and go in the direction of strategically raising Merrill. There is a good chance that Soto and Ha-sung Kim will give up on the wealth tax pressure and start overhauling the team payroll.
Of course, regardless of San Diego’s choice, Kim Ha-seong is unlikely to lose money as he can go to the free agent market and receive a large sum of money. The league is always in high demand for center infielders, and the 2024-2025 free agent market also has a shortage of top shortstops. It is likely that Kim Ha-seong’s jackpot will only be the difference between whether he is with San Diego or not.