Reigning Major League Baseball (MLB) Gold Glove winner Kim Ha-Sung, 28, of the San Diego Padres, is one of the biggest names in the infield in next year’s free agency market.
Kim, who signed a four-year, $28 million guaranteed contract when he arrived in San Diego in 2021, will become a free agent at the end of the 2024 season.
He has the option to extend his contract by one year in 2025, the fifth year, if the San Diego organization agrees, but given his current status, it is beneficial for him to hit the free agent market as soon as possible.
In baseball, there’s a term called “FA Lloyd.
It refers to the phenomenon where a player who is about to hit free agency outperforms his average performance.
The fact that one season’s performance can change the “front end” of a player’s contract is one of the best motivators.
But Kim hasn’t had a season where he hasn’t needed it since arriving in the United States.
He’s now a major league player with his defense alone, but he needs to stay vigilant and do his best to prepare for 2024.
At an official press conference held at Hotel Rivera Cheongdam in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the 20th, Kim said, “It’s not about next year (when I become a free agent). There hasn’t been a year that wasn’t important to me,” he said, adding, “I’ll prepare as I’ve been doing. But since I’m going to be a free agent, I hope I don’t get injured and do well.”
Kim’s defense has been superior since 2021, when he first stepped onto the big league stage.
After struggling with his bat, he gradually improved his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) from 0.622 in 2021, his first year, to 0.708 last year and 0.749 this year.
This season, Kim hit .260 with 17 home runs, 38 doubles, 60 RBIs, and 84 runs scored, his best numbers since his big league debut.
If he continues to improve his batting performance along with his “always solid” defense, a big contract totaling $100 million is not out of the question.
“My personal goal is to be better next year than this year,” Kim said.
There are three main “what ifs” for Kim next year.
He could sit out a season and become a free agent, or the Dodgers could try to extend him with a long-term deal.
There’s also a scenario where San Diego declares a “rebuild” and uses the high-value Kim as a trade chip.
“I was stressed at first, but now I don’t care at all,” said Kim, who has been dogged by trade speculation all season.
“In the end, being traded means that another team needs me, and I don’t mind if I’m given playing time to play for any team,” he said, “but I still like San Diego,” he added. 먹튀검증