Major League Baseball will play a regular-season game in South Korea next March. As the San Diego Padres play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Tour Series in Seoul, attention will turn to the future of Kim Ha-seong, 28, who has emerged as a major league representative of Korea. Rather than a trade, Kim is expected to stay and possibly sign an extension.
On March 13 (KST), Major League Baseball announced that San Diego and the Dodgers will play the opening two games of the 2024 season in Seoul, South Korea. The games will be played on March 21 and 22 of next year at the Gocheok SkyDome. It is the home of the Kiwoom Heroes, where Kim played for seven years before reaching the major leagues.
It will be the first major league game to be played in South Korea and the ninth major league opening game outside of the United States and Canada. It comes five years after the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics met in Tokyo, Japan, in 2019.
The American sports publication The Athletic also broke the news and wrote a separate story about Kim. As the only active Korean big leaguer between San Diego and the Dodgers, Kim explained what the opening series in Korea means to him.
The Athletic wrote, “Kim has been the only player in San Diego’s unconventional infield this season to exceed expectations. His improved ability to handle fastballs has helped him become an above-average hitter at second base. He’s also one of the most valuable defenders in the majors,” he said.
“Despite this, Kim is the only player in San Diego’s infield without a long-term contract. Some in the industry are wondering if the Dodgers will trade him to fill several holes on the roster. With third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Xander Bogaerts under contract for 11 years through 2033 and first baseman Jake Cronenweth under contract for seven years through 2030, Kim, whose contract is guaranteed through 2024, is the only trade card San Diego can play in the infield.
But now that the opening series in South Korea has been finalized, the chances of San Diego trading Kim are significantly lower. “An international showcase in the home stadium of Kim’s KBO career could be a significant selling point in holding onto him,” the Athletic said, adding, “On a team with Fernando Tatis Jr, Machado, and Juan Soto, Kim ranks high as a fan favorite. He’s one of the only hitters who consistently gets chants every time he steps up to the plate at home at Petco Park and sometimes on the road. Kim’s presence in the U.S. has also paved the way for San Diego’s business in Asia.온라인바카라
“Kim is under contract until 2024. They have a mutual option for 2025, which they will likely decline if he continues to perform like he is now. At this point, San Diego has trouble making the postseason in 2023, but they are committed to fighting for the pennant this summer as well as the entire 2024 season, which is Soto’s final year before free agency.” “San Diego has plenty of incentive to keep Kim, and they could sign him to an extension.
Meanwhile, The Athletic explained why the Dodgers were chosen as San Diego’s opening partner, saying, “Looking at the TV schedules, the Dodgers and San Diego are getting a lot of international attention. The Dodgers have produced past Dodger stars such as Ryu Hyun-jin, the first Korean to start a Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and Park Chan-ho and Choi Hee-seop, the first Koreans on a Major League Baseball roster,” he explained.
“People want to see Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman (Dodgers), Machado and Soto (San Diego). This winter, the Dodgers and San Diego are also expected to compete for Japanese two-hit wonder Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), which will add to the appeal of the show. The Dodgers are considered the favorite to land Ohtani, who is a free agent at the end of the season, while San Diego is also considered a contender.