Could the Mariners make their big splash with this Padres infielder?

With rumors swirling about the Mariners looking for an infielder, could the Mariners go big and get one of the best in the game? Let's take a look.
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

The Mariners have made quite a few moves this season, though a majority of the impact came within a few hours a couple of weeks ago, acquiring Mitch Haniger, Anthony Desclafani, and Luke Raley. The also signed Mitch Garver on Christmas Eve, with those two fairly large moves, the Mariners could certainly go into spring training with the roster the way that it is current constructed. However, they do still have money to spend (how much depends on who you ask and where you look).

There were recent reports that the Mariners were still exploring the infield market. They currently have Josh Rojas and Luis Urias slated to start at second base and third base, though it could be surprisingly good, there are a lot of questions surrounding them both. They could add a veteran free agent in the $5M-$10M range, someone that could be a bench option as well as a utility infielder. We touched on that previously, but why don't the Mariners just go out and acquire one of the best second baseman in baseball? Well, it might be more likely than you think.

Mark Polishuk put out an article on Sunday, listing Padres All-Star second baseman, Ha-Seong Kim as a trade candidate. He states that Kim is under contract through 2025 (2025 is a mutual option), he states the mutual option is rarely exercised by both parties. Then goes on to quote Dennis Lin of The Athletic stating, "internally, at least, San Diego has been discussing the idea for weeks.”

The Mariners could be very active in this market here and Kim is about as perfect of a fit as you can find. Kim posted a solid slash line of .260/.351/.398 with a wRC+ of 112. He hit 17 home runs with 38 stolen bases while posting elite walk (12.0%) and strikeout (19.8%) rates, in route to a 4.4 fWAR season. He was rewarded with a Gold Glove in 2023 as well, playing shortstop, second base and third base. Something the Mariners love is versatility and Kim is about as good as it gets.

Kim is sort of a rental, he likely won't exercise his portion of the 2025 mutual option in hopes of a bigger payday, but this could help the Mariners. Kim is under contract for 2024 for just $7 million, a steal for someone of Kim's caliber. He just turned 28 years old, giving you a young, but seasoned veteran to pair with your young core.

Kim is going to be expensive, and it will hurt the Mariners to acquire him, though it shouldn't cost Miller or Woo. The Mariners could hope the Padres would take a prospect package built around Harry Ford or Cole Young and another top 15 prospect or so. The Padres received a lot of pitching in the Juan Soto trade, so they could look to fill up their system with position players.