“Could the best defender in the infield this year spend another season at second base?”
The Athletic asked on Nov. 21, noting that it’s possible, even necessary, for San Diego to retool its infield for the long haul. The key is shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He’s in the first season of an 11-year, $280 million contract. The batting performance should be more than enough to compensate. The question is whether Bogaerts can continue to play shortstop long-term.
In addition to Bogaerts, there are three other players in the San Diego lineup who can play shortstop: Ha Sung Kim and Fernando Tatis Jr. Of the three, Kim is the best defender, so it makes sense to use him at shortstop. Jake Cronenworth, who has struggled at first base this season, is also a better fit at second base than first.
For starters, The Athletic reports that Bogaerts is undecided about playing shortstop next year. Of course, Bogaerts said, “I think I played good shortstop defense. Obviously, I can play a lot better,” but The Athletic said, “Kim is the starting second baseman, but he’s the best defensive shortstop on the team.”
In fact, Bogaerts has only played shortstop since 2014. However, The Athletic reports that the team has already asked him about switching to second base. Bogaerts said, “I don’t know,” but he couldn’t have been happy about it.
Even Tatis didn’t hide his desire to play shortstop. “I can do the hardest job,” he said. After dislocated shoulders and banned substances, he moved to the outfield. He still has the athleticism, but he’s not a reliable defender.
Another variable. Starting third baseman Manny Machado, who had elbow surgery after this season, could miss the beginning of next season. In that case, Kim would have to play third base. In fact, Kim saw a lot of time at third base down the stretch this season. Add to that the timing of major league call-ups for top shortstop prospect Jackson Merrill and another infield prospect, Graham Foley, according to The Athletic. In many ways, the infield equation is complicated.카지노사이트
On the one hand, there’s the possibility of a trade for Ha-Sung Kim, who is entering free agency, but The Athletic called him “the team’s most productive and popular player,” essentially asking, “Is it okay for the best defender in the infield this year to spend another season at second base?”
“I think shortstop is still my best position and where I can play my best,” Kim said, but that doesn’t mean he wants to return to the position. When asked about playing second base again next year, Kim said, “Of course. It’s no problem. Bogaerts is the starting shortstop, and I respect that. I’m the starting second baseman. I’m confident that we can show more chemistry for another year. Next year, we’re going to have a tighter defense.”
It’s a mature answer from Kim, who should be playing shortstop based on his defense alone. However, The Athletic pointed out that they need to think about reorganizing the infield in the long run. There are many variables, including San Diego’s payroll, Machado’s rehabilitation, and the timing of prospects’ call-ups.