Kim Ha-seong back at shortstop next year? Manager says it’s a prerequisite, but will the 36.99 billion star feel self-conscious?

San Diego suffered a major blow in the 2022 season. The team didn’t play a single game without Fernando Tatis Jr. 24, their starting shortstop and one of the best talents in the majors.

A pre-spring training physical revealed a fracture in his wrist, and Tatis underwent surgery to repair it and miss the start of the season. He was expected to return mid-season, but this time he failed a doping test and was suspended for 80 games. It was a huge blow to his image and a huge blow to the team.

Kim Ha-seong, 28, stepped into the void. After playing shortstop, third base, and second base since joining the team in 2021, Kim stepped up and became the team’s starting shortstop in Tatis’ absence. He was a Gold Glove finalist for the National League Shortstop of the Year, and his steady playing time allowed him to turn his first season of struggles into an above-league average batting average.

But San Diego got greedy. Before the 2023 season, they acquired the league’s best shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, 31. For a whopping $280 million over 11 years, they moved the returning Tatis Jr. to right field and Ha Sung Kim to second base to pair with Bogaerts. Tatis, who had a nagging shoulder injury prior to his suspension, was moved to right field to focus on offense and maximize Kim’s versatility. Tatis Jr. proved San Diego right this year, excelling both offensively and defensively, and both Kim and Tatis Jr. won Gold Gloves.

As you can see, the Dodgers have been in a constant state of flux at shortstop for the last three years. And there’s a chance that 2024 could be the same. The Athletic, a North American sports publication, reported midway through the season that “the team is considering a position change for Bogaerts”. A change in Bogaerts’ defensive position would mean reorganizing traffic throughout the infield. On the one hand, it opens up the possibility of Ha-Sung Kim returning to the starting shortstop position. 보스토토

Bogaerts is a star shortstop who has been named an All-Star four times in his career. He’s not worth $280 million for nothing, but he’s more of an offensive shortstop than a defensive one. He’s won five Silver Slugger Awards in his career, but has yet to win a Gold Glove. While his offensive numbers have been relatively consistent, his defensive numbers have been all over the place every year.

In Run Value, a defensive metric created by Statcast, Bogaerts posted negative numbers from 2016 through 2021. His best year was +5 in 2022, and he’s only been slightly better than average this year at +2. Plus, Bogaerts is in his 30s. He can’t continue to play a defensively demanding shortstop forever. Longer term, he needs to make room for Jackson Merrill, the team’s top prospect and one of the best shortstop prospects in the league.

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