“The four infielders, whose contracts total $738 million, are a symbol of San Diego’s struggles.”
The San Diego Padres’ infield, which is not performing up to its price tag, was criticized by the American sports media outlet The Athletic on Monday (June 26). Manny Machado, Zander Bogaerts, Jake Cronenwirth, and Ha-Sung Kim all pointed out that the team hasn’t been able to rebound due to their inability to provide any power at the plate. San Diego is now 23-27 on the season and in fourth place in the National League West.
Kim went down in his first at-bat of the day against the Nationals in the second inning after being hit on the inside of his left knee by a foul pitch. He complained of excruciating pain immediately after the injury, which was feared to be long-term, but was diagnosed as a simple bruise after a medical examination. Kim is expected to return to the field on Sunday against the New York Yankees with just one day of rest.
Even while he was unable to play due to the injury, the Athletic labeled him as a slugger. “Kim has been performing well defensively, leading the majors in DRS (defensive runs saved), but his batting average is below average for second basemen in the league,” the outlet noted.
Kim is batting .237 (36-for-152) with an OPS of .698, five home runs, and 16 RBIs this season. There’s no denying that these are below-average numbers. However, he was on a roll in May. In 20 games in May, he hit .273 (18-for-66) with an OPS of .793, three home runs, and 10 RBIs, and defensively, he was one of the team’s top contributors at the hot corner in place of the injured Machado. That’s probably why San Diego manager Bob Melvin rushed out of the dugout as soon as Kim went down after being hit by a pitch and stayed with him until he was off the field.
On the hitting side of the ball, the other three were more painful. Machado is on the disabled list (with a fractured left hand) after posting just a .654 OPS, according to the Athletic. Bogaerts has played well at shortstop, but is hitting just .179 in May. Cronenwirth also criticized him for not providing enough offensive support at first base.
Machado and Bogaerts are two of the highest-paid players in the majors. Machado signed an 11-year, $350 million extension with San Diego prior to this season, while Bogaerts became a free agent this year for 11 years and $280 million. Criticism of both players is inevitable.
The Athletics emphasized that while Kim and Bogaerts may be better defensively, backup infielder Lugned Odor is better at the plate right now. O’Dowd hit a come-from-behind three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning against Washington to end the team’s six-game losing streak스포츠토토.
“O’Dowd is batting .316 with a 1.013 OPS in May, and he’s 5-for-14 with 10 RBIs with runners in scoring position,” the outlet said, emphasizing that he’s much more useful at the plate.
With Kim and Machado unable to play right away, O’Dowd is undoubtedly the No. 1 alternative in the infield. If O’Dowd continues to show firepower at the plate while Kim gets back on track, Melvin may want to consider making some changes to the traditional outfield of Machado, Bogaerts, Kim, and Cronenweth.