If the Blue Jays do end up signing Ha-Seong Kim to join their infield, it would have a significant effect on the rest of their offseason strategy.
I can’t pretend that I have any legitimate insider information when it comes to the Blue Jays’ plans this offseason, but some things should be a little easier to predict than others.
For example, with the latest rumour that the Blue Jays are among the serious bidders for Ha-Seong Kim‘s services, we can start to get a better idea of what Ross Atkins and his staff might be thinking. Of course, that can change until contracts are officially signed, but landing Kim would certainly have a trickle down effect on the rest of the winter plans.
For starters, if the Korean star does join the Blue Jay then we can likely assume that Atkins won’t be as interested in other options like free agent DJ LeMahieu, or potential trade targets like Francisco Lindor. We can’t 100% rule it out since Cavan Biggio can slide to the outfield if need be, but signing Kim would likely turn their focus to other areas.
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The most significant would likely be that the Blue Jays could probably allocate a few more resources to a pursuit of George Springer, another top-tier free agent who remains available. He’s been rumoured to be heavily connected to the New York Mets, but money talks, and the Blue Jays have an exciting young team that could entice a free agent as well. Because the Jays would save money by signing Kim over other options like LeMahieu or Lindor, it could give Atkins the freedom to outbid the Mets for Springer, should they decide that’s the best course of action.
It’s also possible the Blue Jays could then try to use their remaining payroll budget to improve the pitching staff. Whether that means pursuing the top prize in Trevor Bauer, 2nd-tier options like Masahiro Tanaka, Jake Odorizzi, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker and more, or possibly on bullpen arms like Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks, or Kirby Yates. They’ll likely look to improve the pitching staff regardless of what happens with Kim and others, but money saved on the infield gives them more options.
The other thing to consider about signing Kim is that it’s not just a short-term solution, assuming it works out. Reports are pointing to an offer in the five-year range, and Kim is only 25 years old. With that in mind, the Blue Jays might feel more comfortable with the idea of trading some of their top infield prospects like Jordan Groshans, Orelvis Martinez, Miguel Hiraldo, and more. That could give them more options on the trade market as well, and perhaps that’s where a top-end rotation addition comes from.
All offseason long we’ve talked about the trickle down effect that one decision could have on another. We’re still waiting for that first domino to fall, but if it is Kim, then we may finally have an idea of what the Blue Jays could do with the rest of their offseason.