San Diego Union-Tribune, a leading media outlet in San Diego, claimed on the 8th that a significant salary increase is inevitable for San Diego to keep Kim Ha-sung in the team for a long time. He pointed out that San Diego has to make some choices at the end of Kim Ha-sung’s contract.
Kim Ha-sung signed a four-year contract with San Diego for a total of $28 million (about 37.5 billion won) ahead of the 2021 season. It averages $7 million a year. Considering the amount of posting and incentives paid to Kiwoom, San Diego’s total investment is a little larger than this. Until then, there was also an undesirable view that San Diego, which has solid infield main players, made a “double investment.” However, it is not an exaggeration to say that Kim Ha-sung has already given all of San Diego’s investment.
When statistics website “Fangraph” calculated based on the contribution to victory (WAR) compared to substitute players, Kim Ha-sung 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 accurate, but considering this year’s great performance, it is clear that San Diego has already earned its own money. The problem is next. As Kim Ha-sung’s player value has jumped significantly, he needs to invest more money to catch it.
San Diego and Kim Ha-sung have mutual options for the fifth year, but there is no possibility that Kim Ha-sung will implement them. It is certain that he will appear in the free agent (FA) market after the 2024 season and aim for the last jackpot in his life. In fact, if they qualify for FA, the original team loses its priority, and most FA players choose to transfer to other teams rather than stay in their original team. Therefore, players who will definitely catch them often sign an extension contract in advance before they qualify for FA.
Kim Ha-sung is 29 years old next year and can still spend three to four more years in his heyday. I’m about to turn 30, but I don’t feel like I’m losing my athletic ability at all. If so, it is not unreasonable to expect a contract of at least four years. Unless the average annual amount is extremely high, Kim Ha-sung is likely to blow up the short-term contract for two to three years.
This year’s performance is worth more than $20 million a year. It is concluded that it is possible even if you look at the recent market price of shortstop. If the contract is more than five years, there is a good chance that it will surpass $100 million. The local media East Village Times even offered seven years and $150 million. However, there is a problem that San Diego’s team situation is not easy.
San Diego is well aware of the value of Kim Ha-sung, and Kim Ha-sung is also showing satisfaction with life in San Diego. Each needs each other. But the first problem is that San Diego is already spending too much money on other players. It’s also an ultra-long term contract. Players like Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Xander Bogartz are like that. San Diego’s team salary this year is well over $250 million, ranking third in the league. It is on the threshold of a wealth tax.
On top of that, the pressure to catch Juan Soto (25) is also growing. Soto is a player who has the best on-base ability in the league. Although he was sluggish at the beginning of this season, he has already recovered to the 40% on-base percentage (.408), and the OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) is also 0.908, which is 53% better than the league average. It realizes the proposition that ‘the player who will come up will come up’.
Soto is known to have already rejected Washington’s 15-year total of $440 million (about 589.4 billion won), and Washington, which could not afford to bet a larger amount, traded Soto to Washington ahead of last year’s trade deadline to collect promising players. In other words, Soto, who will become an FA at the end of next season, is likely to want a contract more than this. Given the current structure of San Diego’s team payroll, even catching Soto is expected to be a daunting task.
Even if they don’t catch Blake Snell and Josh Hader, who will qualify for the FA at the end of this season, Soto alone is a problem. Kim Ha-sung’s contract is also urgent, but it is true that Soto has a higher player value anyway. In other words, there is a high probability that Soto will become the “zero priority.” If Soto is caught, it can be difficult to give more than $15 million a year to Kim Ha-sung.
On the one hand, promising players are coming up from below. It is San Diego, which surpassed CJ Abrams (Washington), the team’s most promising player, during the Soto trade. It can be said that he trusted Kim Ha-sung Kim. However, Jackson Merrill (20), another promising shortstop, is slowly approaching his debut. Merrill is the ninth-largest prospect in the Major League overall and the second-largest prospect in the team. It’s the top class. He also showed a relatively impressive performance in spring training this year. It is said that the call-up is likely in 2024.
Merrill has a sophisticated batting ability. There is even a favorable review that 30% is possible. On top of that, the power is formidable, and he has more than average capabilities in both defense and main power, indicating the possibility of becoming an “all-round player” like Kim Ha-sung. However, the shortstop has Zander Bogartz, who has already signed an 11-year contract, and the third base is Manny Machado’s seat. In order to use Merrill, he must realistically vacate the second baseman’s position, but with Kim Ha-sung, Merrill can also be ambiguous.
However, trading Merrill like Abrams could be too neglectful of the future. Except for Merrill, there are not more promising players in the central infield, and Lee is likely to watch. If he gives up Soto, he will have room to sign a contract with Kim Ha-sung, but if not, he can give up on Kim Ha-sung and move toward strategically raising Merrill. Perhaps, there is a good chance that Soto and Kim Ha-sung will give up on both Soto and Kim Ha-sung due to the pressure of the wealth tax and start maintaining the team’s payroll.
Of course, Kim Ha-sung is unlikely to lose money because he has to go to the FA market and receive a large amount of money anyway. The league is always inundated with demand for central infielders, and the 2024-2025 FA market also lacks special shortstop. Kim Ha-sung’s jackpot is likely to be only the difference between being with San Diego or not. 토토사이트