The San Diego Padres are hurting this offseason. With the sad passing of owner and chairman Peter Seidler, sending Juan Soto across the country to the Yankees, and a stunning lack of aggression on the free agent market that has kept the team from making any signings until closer Yuki Matsui just days ago, the Padres have a lot of gaps in their roster and seemingly little strategy to fill them before Opening Day next year.
With the departures of Blake Snell, Josh Hader, and Seth Lugo, among others, San Diego has seen a lot of money come off of their payroll quickly. Last year's Padres would've been turned those newly freed up dollars around quickly on top free agent talent, but this year's Padres are set on downsizing. Part of that plan has seemingly included trading away Juan Soto and letting over $20 million they would've given him to avoid arbitration be the Yankees' problem, but it might also mean offloading some smaller contracts too.
Ha-Seong Kim stepped up in a big way for the Padres last year, wracking up elite defensive numbers in the middle infield and having his best offensive year since he came over from the KBO in 2021. Going into 2024, Kim is owed $7 million for one more guaranteed year and has a mutual option in 2025. It's not a lot of money, but given his performance for the Padres this year, the return for him could be worth the trade. It seems that the Padres are taking calls on him, and there already seem to be more than a few interested parties. Here's what a few trade packages for Kim could look like.
Giants send 1B/RHP Bryce Eldridge, C/OF Blake Sabol, and OF Luis Matos
After losing veteran Brandon Crawford to probable retirement, San Francisco is in the market for a new shortstop, and the Giants seem to be the most obvious new home for Kim. After KBO star and Kim's former WBC teammate Jung Hoo Lee signed with San Francisco, he told reporters that Kim was the first person he called after he signed, and that Kim vouched for Lee's new manager Bob Melvin, who Kim played under for three years in San Francisco before Melvin jumped ship for the Giants.
In a trade package from the Giants, we propose No. 4 prospect Bryce Eldridge, a two-way player currently in A-ball with an expected MLB landing in 2027, and Blake Sabol and Luis Matos from the major league team. If Eldridge lives up to his potential, he could be the Padres' best shot at getting a player like Shohei Ohtani, and he'd be homegrown. When he was being scouted, he was mostly wanted as a hitter; if he were forced to chose hitting for whatever reason, the Padres would get a powerful bat and a first baseman near the top of their pipeline.
Blake Sabol and Luis Matos could immediately give the Padres something that they're in desperate need of: outfielders. While San Diego's infield is crowded, they don't currently have enough players to cover all three positions in the outfield. If the season began tomorrow, José Azocar, who only appeared in 55 games this season, and Fernando Tatis Jr. would be the only qualified outfielders the Padres could play. Sabol could also some much-needed catching depth on a team that's expected to start Luis Campusano behind the dish on Opening Day.