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Padres SS Xander Bogaerts to switch positions with 2B Ha-Seong Kim, 1 year after $280 million contract

February 18th, 2024

The San Diego Padres’ $280 million shortstop is becoming their $280 million second baseman.

Padres manager Mike Shildt told reporters Friday at spring training that Xander Bogaerts will move across the infield in his second year in San Diego, with second baseman Ha-Seong Kim moving from second to shortstop.

Bogaerts has not played a single inning at second base in 1,419 games across 11 seasons in his MLB career, as well as 356 games in the minor leagues. Every game he has played on the field since 2014 has come at shortstop, and that positional value was part of why he got a nine-figure deal from the Padres last offseason.

Despite all that history, Shildt said Bogaerts was receptive to the idea when the manager approached him in his native Aruba, adding that his admiration for Bogaerts “went through the roof in this transition.”

Shildt also defended the 31-year-old’s defense after a season in which very little went according to plan for the Padres:

“I don’t want to misrepresent. Xander Bogaerts played a really good shortstop for the San Diego Padres last year and was a positive part of us and the success that we had. But now you look at it, and you recognize that you do have a guy in Kimmy that also won a Gold Glove as a utility infielder.

“He recognizes Kimmy’s value at shortstop and is a good teammate for that.”

Despite what Shildt said, Bogaerts has mostly been known for the bat he brings to the shortstop position, rather than the glove, and the advanced metrics are a bit mixed on how he plays the infield. Statcast had him as above-average last season, at three outs above average, while he came in at -4 defensive runs saved.

Bogaerts was similarly diplomatic while speaking with reporters later:

“I signed as a shortstop, but to me, I just live and die baseball. I was like, ‘Listen, man, if this is the way you guys view the team as better.’ I respect him, especially defensively. I actually admire him a lot. Maybe it can hurt, but I’m just doing it in the best interests of the team. I feel like I’m at peace with moving off because I feel if I didn’t really want to, I would have let them know.

“I didn’t expect to be cool with it, but what more can I accomplish in this game? The only reason I came here was to win a World Series, so if this is the way that we’re going to get one, so be it. I was just thinking I won one at third base [in 2013], I won one at shortstop [in 2018], and it would be very nice to win one at second base.”

The move might be more about Kim than Bogaerts. Since coming to MLB from Korea in 2021, Kim has been a standout defender all over the infield. In his year as the Padres’ primary shortstop in 2022, the same metrics that were mixed on Bogaerts had Kim at eight OAA and 10 DRS.

Last season, only 10 MLB position players had more bWAR than Kim’s 5.8, with a big boost coming from his defense. It’s not surprising the Padres would want someone like that at shortstop. It’s just curious that they’re doing this after paying a guy $280 million to take over the position last season. Then again, maybe the path to success in 2024 is doing whatever you can to reverse the Padres/ failures of 2023.

Kim is also set to hit free agency after this offseason, which figures to be all the more lucrative for him if he turns in another valuable season at one of MLB’s premium positions.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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