Finding a shortstop is one of the priorities for the Cincinnati Reds this offseason. Mark Sheldon of Reds.com spoke with Reds General Manager Nick Krall about the plans for the team following the General Manager meetings this past week and before the Winter Meetings which will take place in three weeks. While Krall noted that the team believed in Jose Garcia being the shortstop of the future, the team is “keeping their options open with who and what is out there” – and there’s quite a bit out there when it comes to shortstops.
One of the big names out there is Korean shortstop Ha-Seong Kim, who it sounds like will be posted after Thanksgiving by the Kiwoom Heroes according to the team’s General Manager. Daniel Kim of ESPN was the first to report this news on Friday afternoon.
Ha-Seong Kim is coming off of a big season as a 24-year-old. In 2020 he hit .306/.397/.523 with 24 doubles, a triple, and 30 home runs. He also walked 75 times with 68 strikeouts in 138 games. In 2019 he was only a little behind those numbers, hitting .307/.389/.491 with 70 walks and 80 strikeouts in 139 games. There’s always the uncertainty in how the game will translate from Korea to the Major Leagues because of the difference of the level of competition compared to other free agents who have shown their performance in the big leagues. He’s got a lot more youth on his side, though, than the other free agents on the market do.
Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, and Andrelton Simmons headline the rest of the free agent market at shortstop. Gregorius is coming off of the best season of the bunch, rebounding from a down year in 2019 as he was coming off of Tommy John surgery. Gregorius, the former Red, hit .284/.339/.488 for the Phillies last year. He’ll be 31-years-old next year. Simmons, known more for his defense than his bat – though his bat has been solid for most of his career, hit .297/.346/.356 last season with the Angels in just 30 games. He, too, will be 31-years-old next season. Marcus Semien, who finished 3rd in the American League MVP race in 2019, struggled to hit a bit in 2020 as he posted a .223/.305/.374 line in 53 games for the Athletics. He’ll be 30-years-old next season.
And then there’s the trade market. One of the best shortstops in baseball is once again rumored to be available, as Cleveland seems set to trade Francisco Lindor. But Lindor isn’t likely the only available shortstop in the trade market right now – just the one everyone seems to know is available.
Simply put: If the Cincinnati Reds are looking for a shortstop then they have plenty of options, and more than a few good options. The market is there for quality shortstops this offseason if you are willing to pay the price in cash or pay the price in both cash and trade.