The San Diego Padres have reportedly agreed to terms with Korean free-agent infielder Ha-Seong Kim, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Financial terms are not yet available, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted earlier Monday that Kim's guarantee would likely fall in the "high $20 millions" over a four- or five-year term.
Kim, 25, has to date spent his entire professional career with the Kiwoom Heroes franchise, part of the Korea Baseball Organization. Over a seven-season career, he'd hit .294/.373/.493 with 133 home runs and 134 stolen bases. Kim has experience at both shortstop and third base, though the Padres figure to play him at the keystone out of deference to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado.
Here's part of a scouting report published earlier this year on Baseball America:
He is a good athlete with good instincts at (shortstop) and has the average arm strength to stay on the left side of the infield. He projects to be an above-average hitter and has enough power to hit 12-15 home runs per year in the majors ... He is a plus runner who adds value on the bases as well.
Our Mike Axisa provided an in-depth analysis of Kim and his potential landing spots back in early December. Axisa didn't list the Padres, but the move makes some sense. In adding Kim, the Padres have essentially hedged their bets on both breakout rookie Jake Cronenworth and veteran Tommy Pham (who is recovering after being stabbed during an altercation earlier this offseason). One or the other should be able to provide value in left field. And if they both perform, then the Padres will be all the better off for it.
Kim is the third KBO hitter to be successfully posted, joining former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung-Ho Kang and former Minnesota Twins first baseman Byung-Ho Park. Kang and Park signed contracts worth a combined $23 million.
In addition to Kim, the Padres have agreed to a deal for Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell over the past 24 hours. They continue to show interest in adding Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish as well.