The Atlanta Braves have an in-house Dansby Swanson replacement at the ready in Vaughn Grissom, but could they instead make a trade?
The San Diego Padres have made Ha-Seong Kim available after they signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a large free-agent contract. The 11 years handed out to Bogaerts makes a player like Kim available.
Kim is an elite defender at both shortstop and second base, and would slide in quite well into the Braves lineup. The only expectation would be to put up respectable offensive numbers — which the former KBO star did last season while slashing .251/.325/.383 — and to play up to his ability defensively. In some ways, it’s an upgrade over Swanson given the money saved.
The $177 million contract handed out to Swanson could prove to be an overpay by the Cubs. Either Kim, or Vaughn Grissom, make sense as a reasonable replacement.
What would a Braves trade for Ha-Seong Kim look like?
Ha-Seong Kim would not come cheap. He’s a great defensive shortstop and under team control for the next few years. The Padres are only open to dealing Kim because he’s at a position of strength, and they need pitching. With that in mind, let’s construct a trade for Kim.
SS, Ha-Seong Kim
SP, Bryce Elder
RHP, Darius Vines
SS, Orlando Arcia
Atlanta would receive Kim, a proven shortstop, in exchange for Bryce Elder, who is just 23 years old and can pitch in the rotation or out of the bullpen. He had a sub-3.5 ERA last season, and will only improve from here. The Braves pitching depth is a strength, however, so they can afford to trade him away.
Vines is 24 and ranked outside the Braves top-10 prospects. However, he’s also MLB-ready and could pitch for the Padres this season. Arcia would take Kim’s roster spot as a respectable backup shortstop. He can also play in other spots on the infield.