Cincinnati Reds fans got a taste of the defensive value that Jose Garcia can bring to the table in 2020. The young shortstop has a cannon for an arm and shows off both good range and hands at the position. But what the 2020 season also showed us is that his bat isn’t quite ready for the Major Leagues yet. That’s not entirely unexpected given that before he stepped into the Major Leagues he had never had a single at-bat in Double-A or Triple-A. He did spend July and August at the Reds alternate site where he routinely would face pitchers with Double-A, Triple-A and even Major League experience – so it wasn’t like he had never seen advanced pitching. But there’s a difference between that setting and big league game settings, too.

Cincinnati remains high on Jose Garcia, no doubt. He’s got all of the tools that you want to see, and we’ve seen some of them on display in 2020. The power jumped out back in February and March in spring training in Goodyear. The defense, well, we saw that in the big leagues this season. He can run a little bit, too. But he also walked one time with 26 strikeouts in 68 plate appearances during the year. His bat is going to have to improve, and improve a lot over what he showed in 2020 if he’s going to get where people think he can be.

The Reds could go look at the free agent market for a stop-gap shortstop to hopefully allow Jose Garcia time to work on things in the minors in 2021. But there’s also the option of potentially just signing someone long term to play the position. Usually that’s not how you find your shortstop due to the fact that most guys don’t reach free agency until their late 20’s and that’s when most shortstops start making the move to second or third base. But news came out on Thursday from Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors that the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes would be posting 25-year-old shortstop Ha-Seong Kim.

In May, Kyle Glaser of Baseball America noted that Kim would be a Top 100 prospect if he signed with a big league team and had him as the top prospect in the KBO. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN has also been hearing good things and may have Kim as a Top 10 free agent this year.

While Kiley McDaniel’s tweet has some stats in it, let’s take a look at a more complete picture:

Once he reached his 20’s, Ha-Seong Kim really cut his strikeout rate. His walk rate has also crept upward over the years, too. Last season he did hit a career best 27 home runs, but his slugging percentage hasn’t really changed much since he was 19-years-old, either. He’s been very consistent with his power over the years.

Here’s some fun clips of some absolute blasts from over the summer.

In order to sign Ha-Seong Kim a team has to come to an agreement with the shortstop and based on how much that deal is for, pay a fee to his team for that. If the deal is for $25M or less, the posting fee would be 20% of that contract. If the deal is between $25M and $50M, the fee would be 20% of the first $25M and then 17.5% of the remaining deal. In a deal worth more than $50M, it holds the same elevators as before, but anything over $50M is at 15%.

When it comes to Major League Baseball – this deal will not be like the one that was there for Shohei Ohtani, who had to sign a minor league contract. Ha-Seong Kim has been a professional for enough years, and is 25-years-old and thus is “allowed” to sign a Major League deal.

Now, why would the Cincinnati Reds do this if they already have Jose Garcia? It’s a good question. But why would the Cincinnati Reds sign Nick Castellanos in January when they already had Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Shogo Akiyama, and Aristides Aquino? To get better.

Cincinnati should probably head into the 2021 offseason looking for a starting shortstop. Jose Garcia likely needs time in the minors. He, like so many others, were put in a very weird position in 2020 because of all that was going on.

It would obviously be different to sign a player like Ha-Seong Kim than a guy who would fall into the “stop-gap” category. But there’s also never a “this team has TOO MUCH talent” complaint, either. If you have a very good player that you simply can’t find playing time for, someone else will, and you can trade that player in order to fill a spot somewhere else on the field.

Maybe it’s something that won’t matter. Cincinnati spent big last offseason to go for it. A lot of things got in the way of that and things ended in the wild card round of the playoffs. It was a season that saw no fans in the stands and teams claiming they would be losing money because of it. As a result the free agent market is about as uncertain as it’s been in a long time. A small market team like Cincinnati, who has a smaller television contract per year than most others in the league, rely on ticket sales more than some other teams do. That could mean the Reds are going to try to stay out of the market even with the potential of money coming off of the books with Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, and Freddy Galvis hitting free agency.

36 Responses

  1. Kyle

    Kyle Farmer will be your opening day shortstop in 2021

  2. Klugo

    How old is Garcia? I think a 3year deal on a SS would make pretty good sense. I’d say Garcia is probably 2 or 3 years out.

    • Eric Davis Morgan Larkin Bench

      I was thinking same about 2 years till he get learn strike zone better and maybe make some contact that he certainly did not do this year,love his defense and potential !

  3. Bred

    They have to do something. In hind site picking Galvis over Iglesias was a mistake, but he was hurt this year and only played 39 game. His 2020 slash: .373/.400/.556. I guess they could look at Didi or Andrelton Simmons. Garcia will be 23 in 2021, but his bat does not play. As Kyle posted the only internal option is Farmer.

    • VaRedsFan

      They didn’t pick Galvis over Iglesias. Iggy was a free agent, Galvis was under contract.

      • docproc

        Galvis had a team option. Which the Reds could have declined and bought out.

  4. SultanofSwaff

    Kim certainly looks like he has All-Star potential. The team needs more hitters who strike out at a low rate and Kim is a perfect fit for that reason. His power makes him a great fit anywhere on the diamond. To that end, 3B might make more sense as Garcia is a game changing SS defensively. Why not sign Kim and trade Geno? You get a younger/more versatile hitter while staying relatively salary neutral.

    • VaRedsFan

      Who plays SS if Kim is at 3B? It doesn’t change the fact that Garcia is not ready.

  5. Charlie Waffles

    Kim looks like a Korean Trevor Story. That might be nice to go for. It could be one of the final pieces to the puzzle. A top 10 free agent though will be pricy even with a posting fee added on.
    Lets review the finances.
    >The Reds will have these players salaries taken off the books for 2021 through FA and trades: Bauer, DeSclafani, Galvis, Strop, N. Jones, C. Colon, M. Davidson, B. Raley, P. Ervin, C. Reed, and J. Vanmeter. These 11 players total amounted to $37.1MM before being pro-rated.
    >In 2021, the Reds are already committed to $103MM for 9 players. They will have 17 roster spots to fill, most already on the roster. Those 9 are Votto, Moustakas, Castellanos, S. Gray, Suarez, Iglesias, Shogo, Miley, and Barnhart.
    >The Reds will have 5 Players with 1 year left on team control. Iglesias ($9.125MM),
    Miley ($9.0MM), Barnhart ($4.688MM), Lorenzen (A-4 on $3.785MM in 2020), and Bradley (A-3 on $4.1MM in 2020). Iglesias, Miley, and Barnhart are included in the 9 players and $103 already committed for 2021, while Lorenzen and Bradley do not as they will be in the last year of their arbitration years. Those 2 will get a bump up in salary for 2021 and will add to that $103MM. The Reds could pare some salary here with this group of 5 to make some budget room. Barnhart has a big target on his back for that. Maybe Iglesias. Also, it is possible that Lorenzen or Bradley could be non-tendered, but that is highly, highly unlikely.
    >The Reds have 4 players with 2 years of arbitration left in Casali ($1.462MM in 2020), Goodwin ($2.2MM in 2020), Jankowski ($1.050MM in 2020), and Bowman ($0.865MM in 2020). Bowman is on the 45 day IL so not sure how that affects his situation.
    >The Reds have 6 players entering their 1st year of arbitration in Castillo ($0.663MM in 2020), Mahle ($0.610MM), Winker ($0.605MM), Garrett ($0.600MM), R. Stephenson ($0.592MM), and J. DeLeon. Not 100% sure DeLeon will be in this group. The first 4 players are likely to see their 2021 salaries double or triple from 2020.
    >So, the Reds will have a possible number of 12 players this winter that will be eligible for arbitration if they don’t come to an agreement beforehand. This group is going to eat a lot of the available budget money above the committed $103MM.
    >The Reds list of players that could get non-tendered out of this group could be Goodwin, Jankowski, R. Stephenson and possibly Casali if they stay with Barnhart. DeLeon and Bowman could possibly be here too depending on their situations. This only frees up a small amount of budget space.
    The raises the arbitration eligible players will receive will play a very large part in what the Reds can do this winter to add to the roster.
    The new Baseball Ops President is going to have to hit the ground running whenever they hire one. They will need to decide on non-tenders in November, 40-man roster shuffling in November protecting players from the Rule V draft, and November brings on the beginning of the free agent season. Lots of decisions to be made and a lot of work to be done to fix the offense this winter while trying to keep Bauer on board.
    Looks like a few trades might be in order for this winter to accomplish some things to field a better team in 2021.

    • Michael Smith


      I am assuming if they do not have a man in place or if they decide not to fill the spot that Kroll would make those decisions.

    • Charlie Waffles

      The 9 players committed to for 2021, plus the 12 arbitration eligible players bring the potential roster to 21. Then you have to add in the pre-Arbies of Farmer, Senzel, Sims, Antone, Aquino, Romano, Ty Stephenson, J. Garcia, and throw in Kuhnel and Hendrix and you have 31 players for 26 positions. The Reds are definitely going to have to subtract from the current list to add any players in the off-season. And they need to make some additions to get better. The roster room is already crowded and some space is going to have to be made one way or another on the roster limit and budget limit to accommodate any new players .

  6. (Not) Jose Iglesias

    Hey Guys, did you see I hit .373 this year while making half as much as Freddy Galvis in the same number of at bats? With my avRISP, I probably would’ve gotten at least one of those bases loaded runners across against the braves….

    • IndyDoug

      Nah, they would have made him swing for the fences…

    • RedNat

      But, you didn’t walk enough for the sabermetric guys so technically you had a ” bad” offensive year.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        No sabermetric person is ever going to say that someone with a .400 OBP had a bad offensive year.

  7. wkuchad

    How much longer can Jose Garcia stay in the minors without the Reds losing him. I really like the thought of a stopgap SS.

    I also hope they look to improve at catcher.

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds can option Garcia in 2021, 2022, and 2023. He would not have to “stick” in the Major Leagues until the 2024 season.

      • Sliotar

        See below. Thank you for your work this week.

  8. DaveCT

    How much would a fellow Cuban, Jose Iglesias, cost to come and prime the transition to José Garcia? That’s two birds with one stone. The cost? A prospect or two? Easy.

  9. Sliotar


    Your posts have been super-good this week.

    Sparked lots of conversation … and hitting the vibe that (I think) we all feel … of frustration with not advancing and unfinished business for next season, if they make a couple of moves.

    Thank you.

    Garcia feels like such a no-brainer … future fixture at SS for years, if handled right.
    No need to over-expose him next season … he got a taste of MLB this season.

  10. Indy Red Man

    I made a nice chunk betting KBO this year and watched it alot, but I don’t know this guy in particular. I know they signed Addison Russell midseason although he DHs some. Their best player is a lefty hitting OFer.

    Overall though….could be the same issues as Shogo? Average fb is about 89 and most of the fielders have the range of Votto. Man on 2nd and a hit to left and the LFer throws to the cutoff who then throws to the plate. Everything is so much weaker then mlb that its impossible to compare. I think a good American AA team would wreck their teams.

    They will hit the other way and they will take a walk too, but so does Shogo. I’m a wee bit sceptical if I haven’t made that point yet.

    • Indy Red Man

      For example:

      Dan Straily had a sub 2 era for most of the season and was #1-#2 pitcher in their 10 team league. He currently has a 2.60 era (1.02 whip) with 176 ip and only 134 hits.
      Same ex-Red Dan Straily that got bombed in the Marlins huge park and had to leave mlb. Anyone that can throw 93+ regularly mows these guys down and half of them fall down swinging. Its not pretty, but a very select few are gifted. The young LHH OFer for this same Heroes team will make in mlb imo

  11. Indy Red Man

    Why were my comments deleted? I watched alot of KBO and thought I could possibly help other RLN readers learn about it if they haven’t seen the level of play there.

    • Indy Red Man

      I’ll just post this and move on:

      Dan Straily in the KBO 2.60 era with a 1.02 whip. 176 ip 134 hits. Haven’t seen the Japanese league but I’ve heard its better then the KBO and Shogo isn’t hacking it so far. Call me sceptical. The average fb in kbo is about 89.

    • Doug Gray

      Wasn’t deleted. Went to moderation automatically.

  12. Mark

    I’d go after Didi Gregorius for a 2year deal. He had a real nice 60 game season with the Phillies.

  13. RedBaron

    Decent idea but I worry about the KBO which is a notch below the JPL. I would guess he would cost around or a bit more than Akiyama which I think is a risk. I would rather go after Semien or Didi. I think Semien sets up well for a 1-2 year deal as hs is coming off a bad year and will likely sign a short term contract to up his value.

  14. RedBaron

    Hard to find a comparable for him and what he might sign for. Jung Ho Kang only signed for $11m over 4 years as well as a $5M posting fee and he had an amazing season in the KBO before he signed, .356 ave 1.198 OPS and 40 HR. That seems way too cheap though and dated. I would guess someone will pay something like 5 years and $20-25M for him. Tack on about $5M posting fee. Thoughts?

  15. RedBaron

    BTW according to MLBtraderumors “Kim has also won multiple Gold Glove Awards for his work at shortstop in Korea and has some experience at third base.”

    • RedBaron

      Good Highlight reel here including some of his glove work. I also noticed several of his HR’s came off submarine/sidearm delivery right handers which bodes well for his splits I would think. He also looks bigger than his listed 5’9″ 167lbs

      • RedsFaninPitt

        Trade Mahle + Casali to the Mets for Amed Rosario + Steven Matz. Both had down years but have much higher potential. Rosario will only be 25 with 3 yrs of control left and is a very good defensive SS with a lot of offensive upside still. Matz is a lefty starter/reliever that who misses a lot of bats. They need more pitching to go along with good offense. Andres Gimenez is ready to take over full time for Rosario.

  16. Mark Moore

    Regardless of this possible international option, I’m in the camp with those that want Garcia to season for another year or two in an actual minor-league situation. AA or AAA is fine as he’s had a solid taste of MLB and we know many of the things he needs to work on.

    Not in the camp of printing money to get one of the current big name guys, even if it is for just 2 years (most of them want more than that anyway).

    The Kim angle is interesting, but could he then slide over to 2B and be effective along side Garcia? I say that because I think sooner rather than later we’ll need to slide Moose over to 1B so Joey can be the DH. Probably just my untrained eye test, but Moose is far better defensively given what we saw out of JV this year. Let Joey focus on hitting only and glide into his last few years that way. I know that complicates things with Winker and the OF crew, but perhaps Jesse’s trade value is on the rise, especially if (dare I say when) the NL adopts the DH on a permanent basis – and I think that’s highly likely for whatever 2021 looks like.

    The collective bargaining agreement of course muddies all these waters.