Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego) and Tommy Edmon (28, St. Louis) were the keystone duo for Team Korea at the 5th World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and have continued to perform well for their respective teams this season. They have something in common: they are the salt of the earth for their teams.
In 71 games through Aug. 23, Kim is batting .251 with six home runs, 22 RBIs, 13 doubles, and an OPS of 0.719. His adjusted OPS (OPS+) is 104, just above league average. His true value comes from his defense. He’s played above league average defense at second base, his natural position, shortstop, and third base. He consistently leads the majors in DRS, a metric that measures how many runs a defense prevents.
Edmon is also doing his part, batting .241 with seven home runs, 27 RBIs, 13 doubles, and a .720 OPS in 72 games this season. In addition to playing shortstop and second base, he’s also seen time in center field this year, expanding his versatility. Edmon is an infield and outfield player, but he’s been playing a lot of corner outfield spots and hasn’t seen much time in the middle infield. Perhaps this year, he’s expanded his range.
The two could be in contention for the Gold Glove in the utility category this year, but their prospects on the trade market are somewhat mixed. Kim is more of a non-tradeable commodity, while Edmon is viewed as tradeable. We’re not talking about the value of either player, but rather the team’s situation and the overall picture.
As of the 23rd, San Diego is 36-39 (.480) and in fourth place in the National League West. St. Louis is 31-44 (.413) and last in the NL Central. While it’s surprising that San Diego, which has made major additions to its lineup over the past two to three years, is still under .500, it’s even more surprising that St. Louis, one of the absolute powerhouses of the Central, has fallen to the bottom of the standings. Trade discussions start with this leaderboard.
Usually, the teams that sell are the ones that have given up on the postseason. They’re looking forward to next year and rebuilding their roster. They sell high-value pieces, get prospects or power, and move on. This is where San Diego and St. Louis are somewhat different.
It’s very likely that San Diego hasn’t given up on the postseason at the end of July. This makes it very unlikely that Kim will be on the trade market. Even if the Padres were to give up on the postseason and have a “fire sale,” Kim would be a small part of it.
With next year being the final year of his contract, Kim’s salary is low at $7 million. His trade value is high, but on the flip side, San Diego wouldn’t have to deal him. He can play all three infield positions right now, which makes him extremely versatile. In fact, San Diego general manager A.J. Preller said in the offseason that they had trade inquiries for Kim and Trent Grisham, but they never acted on them.
By comparison, St. Louis is a less likely postseason contender than San Diego based on their current strength and depth. They’re nine games out of the division lead and 10.5 games out of the wild card race. They’ll keep trying to make the postseason, but it’s hard to say where they’ll be at the end of July. The team has a lot of holes in its lineup. It’s also a time when the team is slowly preparing for what comes next in the Yadier Molina-Adam Wainwright era.
Jim Borden, a columnist for The Athletic and former Major League Baseball general manager, said of Edmon: “He has the ability to play above-average defense at three key positions in center (second base, shortstop, and center field), and that makes him a sought-after player. He is under team control through 2025. The Reds will have to sacrifice some key players to improve their pitching staff.” 안전놀이터
The Cardinals’ lack of success this year is largely due to their struggles on the mound, and the players coming up from the farm aren’t ready yet. In the long run, Borden believes that if the Reds aren’t going to make the postseason this year, it would make more sense to trade Edmon and other players to acquire pitching. If Edmunds is on the market, he’s likely to be on the radar of a championship team and could fetch a lot of money.