Padres pushing Xander Bogaerts aside for short-term Ha-Seong Kim solution seems bad

So what exactly is the Padres' plan for their infield going forward?

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres entered 2024 spring training in a weird spot with their infield. Ha-Seong Kim was at the center of a number of trade rumors given that he's likely to become a free agent at season's end. On top of that, a number of guys are having to play out of position just to get playing time due to the personnel decisions the Padres have made.

At the center of a lot of these issues has been the presence of Xander Bogaerts.

Signing Bogaerts was not a bad idea, in a vacuum. There's no such thing as having too many good players. He can perform on both sides of the ball and was one of the best free agent bats available while the Padres were still pushing their chips in.

However, when you already have a ton of infielders on your roster and you add a guy you've committed a hefty nine figure contract to, figuring out how to make things work naturally gets harder.

With the Padres' decision to move Bogaerts to second base and giving Kim the shortstop spot, one part of the puzzle seems to be settled. However, the process by which the Padres came to that decision and how they have executed it leaves a lot to be desired. It's also introduced an entirely new set of potential concerns.

Padres' infield plans up in the air after Xander Bogaerts/Ha-Seong Kim position switch

To Bogaerts' credit, he has handled the change like a pro. All the guy wants to do is what is best for the team and he deserves props for taking the move so well. While it's very likely his feelings would probably be different if he hadn't already received a $280 million contract, there has been little in the way of actual drama surrounding the move.

The elephant in the room here is Ha-Seong Kim and what his future holds with the Padres. Kim will likely be a free agent after the 2024 season. Trade rumors have surrounded him this offseason. There was also buzz about a possible extension. But right now he's more than likely in a contract year, and it seems odd the Padres are making this position switch to address a single year of play.

Maybe the Padres have decided that they would like to try and keep Kim around long-term and feel as though giving him the keys at shortstop is the best way to convince him to stick around. Perhaps the position switch is a way for the Padres to try and exert leverage in trade negotiations and they could still end up moving him. Other teams may be willing to pony up more for him with the real threat of San Diego just keeping Kim and playing him at a premium position.

We shall see how this all shakes out, but just because this particular decision is locked in does not mean that the future of the Padres' infield is any more certain.

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