Mike Shildt might've ended Padres trade rumors with Xander Bogaerts position change

Xander Bogaerts will be playing a new position this coming season. The move could have wide reaching implications for the Padres the rest of the offseason.

St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres have had a conundrum in their infield for a while now. While having too many capable infield defenders isn't a problem in theory, in practice it has forced the Padres to move guys out of position just to get their bats in the lineup every day. Some moves, like moving Fernando Tatis Jr. to right field, have worked out great. Others, like Jake Cronenworth at first base, have worked out less great.

One big piece of the puzzle that San Diego has created for themselves was when they went out and signed Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts is a terrific player on both sides of the ball, but adding him to a roster that already had a bunch of infielders made his roster fit wonky at times.

For all of last year, Bogaerts manned shortstop and did so quite well. In his 146 starts there in 2023 with the Padres, he produced three Outs Above Average. Not amazing, but still strong defensive production for a guy that also gave San Diego a 120 wRC+ season at the plate.

Nevertheless, the Padres have seemingly been flirting with moving Bogaerts to a different position heading into the 2024 season for a while now. However, in a pretty shocking twist, Shildt announced today that Bogaerts would indeed be moving to second base with Ha-Seong Kim moving back to shortstop.

Xander Bogaerts position change seemingly locks in Kim for the 2024 season

While having two guys simply swap positions in the middle infield may not seem like a huge deal, it has wide ranging implications for the Padres in 2024. While Bogaerts is a decent defender at short, Kim is an elite infield defender and places him at arguably the most important defensive position on the field. Assuming Bogaerts doesn't regress at second base, the Padres' infield defense just got better.

More importantly, Shildt's declaration that Kim will be the team's starting shortstop could be subtle way of saying that Kim is going to be around for the 2024 season with the Padres or at least until the trade deadline. Rumors that San Diego could move Kim have swirled throughout this offseason given that he is likely to become a free agent after the season, but it would be pretty odd to see the team move him now that he has been declared the team's starting shortstop in the opening days of camp.

That said, moving Kim isn't impossible. Perhaps this is a move to help San Diego gain leverage in trade negotiations by saying that they don't have to move him and are happy to keep him. With the sheer number of guys that can play short between the Padres' big league roster as well as in their farm system, the team is not short on options in their infield this spring. Only time will tell how everything shakes out as the team continues to be active reshaping their roster ahead of Opening Day.

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