The New York Yankees agreed to send third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Gary Sanchez to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt before the start of the 2022 season.
They gave the keys to the shortstop position to IKF and didn’t look back.
Perhaps they should have revisited the situation when he was in the midst of an extended slump in the second half, because shortstop was one of the Yankees’ most problematic positions this past campaign.
Despite a hot start, Kiner-Falefa quickly turned back into a pumpkin and finished with a weak .261/.314/.327 with just four homers.
Reports on his defense were mixed, too, and ranged from acceptable to atrocious.
The Yankees had a chance to decide on his future, and are welcoming him back to the roster.
“Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and the New York Yankees are in agreement on a one-year, $6 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. There was thought Kiner-Falefa could get nontendered before the 8p ET deadline, but he’s back in his last year before free agency,” MLB insider Jeff Passan tweeted.
Shorstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and the New York Yankees are in agreement on a one-year, $6 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. There was thought Kiner-Falefa could get nontendered before the 8p ET deadline, but he's back in his last year before free agency.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 18, 2022
Kiner-Falefa Is Stretched As A Regular
IKF became the scapegoat for fans to criticize in the stretch run and the postseason.
In reality, however, it’s not his fault because he is who he is at this point, as he has maintained a similar level of offensive performance for years: it’s the Yankees’ fault for making him the starting shortstop and sticking with him no matter what and having superior options on the roster.
Non-tendering IKF sounded extreme, as he can be a fine utility player capable of playing catcher, third base, and shortstop.
He even won a Gold Glove at third base last year with the Texas Rangers.
He is a nice utility but a well-below average regular.