SD recruited the drug home run king but Kim Ha-sung is expected to be the main second baseman.
The San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB) recruited veteran infielders and veteran big guns one after another. Still, it is predicted that Kim Ha-sung (28)’s main position is likely to be guaranteed.
Alden Gonzalez of ESPN predicted San Diego’s lineup for the 2023 season, reporting on the 12th (Korea Standard Time) that “San Diego has agreed to a one-year $1 million (about 1.2 billion won) contract with right-handed hitter Nelson Cruz (43).
Cruz, who turns 43 this year, is a slugger who hit 459 home runs in 18 big league seasons. Although he has a history of taking banned drugs, he has become the league’s leading slugger by winning the home run king (2014, 40 home runs) and the RBI king (2017, 119 RBIs).
Although he hit only 10 home runs in 124 games last year, he showed off his old age by hitting 32 home runs just two years ago. Except for Manny Machado (31) and Juan Soto (25), San Diego, which has no big guns, can be said to be a perfect recruit for the team.
Cruz wasn’t the only veteran of San Diego. On the 21st of last month, he signed a contract with infielder Matt Carpenter (38) for up to $12 million (about 15 billion won) in one plus one year. With a career-high OPS of 0.825, he left his batting average of 10% for the second consecutive year and announced his revival with a batting average of 0.305 15 home runs and 42 RBIs in 47 games last year.
The recruitment of players with punch power is a fatal blow for Kim Ha-sung. The Athletic predicted, “If San Diego recruits a first or second baseman with some power, he can put Kim Ha-sung on the bench against right-handed pitchers.”
Kim Ha-sung is already on the verge of being pushed out of the main shortstop position due to Fernando Tatis Jr. (24)’s return to disciplinary action on banned drugs and the stray bullet of recruiting Xander Bogartz (31). On top of that, Carpenter and Cruz’s recruitment could have been another stumbling block.
Gonzalez, however, expected Carpenter and Cruz to play as designated hitters Platoon. There was also evidence. Cruise recorded a career low of 0.651 in OPS last year. However, it rose to 0.727 against left-handed pitchers. On top of that, from 2014 to 2021, the left-handed pitcher’s OPS was 1.015, ranking fourth in the league.
Carpenter also had a batting average of 0.249 and OPS 0.768 against career left-handed pitchers, but OPS rose to 0.847 against right-handed batters. In order to take advantage of each other’s strengths, two players are expected to come out depending on the left and right pitchers.
In the meantime, Gonzalez expected Kim Ha-sung to take the starting position as the second baseman. Existing second baseman Jake Cronenworth (29) was expected to move to first base, Bogartz to settle for shortstop, and Tatis to play as a right fielder 파워볼게임
Although he has never played as a second baseman last year, Kim Ha-sung showed off his utility skills in 2021, his first season of debut. At the time, he started 20 games as a second baseman and did not record a single error in 148 innings. Considering his ability to hit double-digit home runs (11 home runs) last year, he can play as a second baseman.