Kiwoom Heroes infielder Kim Ha-seong is realizing his dream of becoming a Major Leaguer. The MLB.com on Monday local time quotes its source as saying that Kim Ha-seong agreed to a deal with the San Diego Padres but the team has not announced the deal since a physical is pending. If Kim passes a physical with the Padres, he will become the ninth Korean Major Leaguer hitter after Choi Hee-seop, who made his big league debut in 2002. Kim will also become the third big leaguer from Kiwoom following Kang Jung-ho and Park Byung-ho.
The terms of the deal are unknown as an official announcement is yet to be made. But New York Post columnist Joel Sherman tweeted that Kim Ha-seong signed a four-or five-year, 7 million to 8 million dollar deal in high 20 million dollar range. Since Kim requested to be posted for MLB clubs, Kiwoom will be awarded the posting fee if Kim reaches an agreement with the Padres.
Experts say the deal is beyond many people’s expectations. “Free agents’ deals are getting delayed with MLB clubs experiencing a revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe Kim was offered good conditions in a situation where Korean and Japanese hitters are not highly evaluated in MLB,” said Song Jae-woo, a commentator for MBC Sports Plus. In fact, Yoshi Tsutsugo signed, who was made available to MLB clubs through posting, signed a two-year, 12 million dollar deal with the Tampa Bay Rays last year. A rumor has it that Kim gained the right to reject any minor league assignment.
Kim, who switched back and forth from shortstop and third-base man for Kiwoom this season, is expected to play second base for the Padres. This is because Rays star Manny Machado is already playing third base and rising star Fernando Tatis Jr. is playing shortstop. Jake Cronenworth, who played second base this season, is likely to switch to outfielder. Kim can also be used as an infield utility player.
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