The fact that Ha-Sung Kim was ranked eighth in the National League (NL) in MLB.com’s MVP mock poll released today (Aug. 8) is significant.
Of course, the No. 1 candidate for NL MVP this season is Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves. He leads the NL in runs scored and stolen bases, and is a lock to become the first player in major league history to hit 30 home runs and 60 steals. Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers are also worthy MVP candidates. It’s not so much that Kim will actually win the MVP, but rather that he’s on the short list of the best of the best.
In MLB.com’s previous three MVP mock polls in May, June, and July, Kim was not mentioned at all. His late-season explosion at the plate has catapulted him to the top of the NL batting leaderboards, and the media and fans have taken notice.
As of today, he ranks ninth in the NL in batting average (.288), eighth in on-base percentage (.384), tied for 15th in OPS (.838), tied for 22nd in runs scored (61), and tied for sixth in stolen bases (24). Of course, he’s first on the team in batting average, second in slugging percentage and OPS behind Juan Soto, and third in runs scored behind Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr.
In 23 games in the second half, he’s batting .384 (33-for-86) with five home runs, 10 doubles, 18 RBIs, a .490 slugging percentage, and a 1.083 OPS. His second-half batting average is second to Freeman (.420), his slugging percentage is third, and his OPS is fifth. He’s solidified himself as San Diego’s leadoff man.
The question of Kim’s extension is finally starting to come up.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, a leading newspaper in the San Diego area, reported on August 8 that ‘The Padres have raised ticket prices for next season by an average of 9 percent’ and that ‘The Padres could see their payroll increase dramatically if they sign Juan Soto, a free agent after the 2024 season, to an extension. Soto rejected a $440 million extension offer from the Washington Nationals last summer.” “Kim also has a mutual option for $8 million after the 2024 season. If the Padres want to lock him up long-term, they’ll have to give him a hefty raise.
Kim signed a four-year, $28 million deal three years ago with an $8 million mutual option for a fifth year. Next year, the fourth year of his contract, is effectively his final season. There’s no reason for him to pick up the 2025 option for just $8 million when he’s at the top of his game. After next season, he can pick up the option and hit free agency.
It’s San Diego’s policy to lock up key players like Kim before they hit free agency. Since last summer, San Diego has signed Joe Musgrove, Manny Machado, Darvish Yu, and Jake Cronenweth to extensions. Kim and Soto are the only two players up for extension after this season. Soto will also be a free agent after next season.
The time to sign them is after this winter and before next year’s trade deadline. It’s unclear whether San Diego will prioritize Kim or Soto, but whoever it is, it will have to come up with an astronomical amount of money.
It’s reasonable to assume that Kim’s value has skyrocketed to over $20 million in average annual value (AAV).
The East Village Times, a local San Diego sports publication, published an article titled “Padres should make contract extension with Ha-Sung Kim a priority” on the 5th of this month, claiming that “Kim’s growth, performance and age warrant a seven-year, $150 million deal. The idea is to keep Kim, who turns 28 in October, through his age 35 season. That’s an AAV of $21.4 million.카지노사이트
The largest contract ever signed by an Asian player is the $155 million Masahiro Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees in 2014. The seven-year, $130 million deal Shin-Soo Choo received when he joined the Texas Rangers in 2014 is second, and the six-year, $126 million deal Darvish agreed to when he became a free agent with the Chicago Cubs in February 2018 is third.
Kim could surpass them all. Given his age, a seven-year deal with an AAV of $25 million and a total of $175 million is not out of the question.