3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa
That’s Gold Glover Isiah Kiner-Falefa! Remember, he stole the award from Gio Urshela back in 2020? Good times.
Though he can play multiple positions (he started as a catcher, moved to third base, and is now a shortstop), the Rangers would seemingly be set if they brought in Corey Seager or Trevor Story (that’s what the latest rumors are telling us). Would they want to move Kiner-Falefa back to third base after his full season at shortstop? Sure, it’s possible.
Or would they rather continue to upgrade in other ways via trade and see what they have in former top prospect Yonny Hernandez, who was a positive dWAR player in his 29 games at third base last year (his debut season)? Kiner-Falefa will have rising salaries in arbitration and his bat has yet to come around entering his age-27 season.
But the Yankees will take a guy who’s hit .280 and .271 the last two seasons even if his OPS was as low as .699 and .670. They can afford to absorb that kind of offensive downgrade whereas the Rangers can’t. They were the third-worst team in baseball last year and were among the bottom five in just about every meaningful offensive category. Kiner-Falefa has just 925 career innings at third and has been good for 16 total DRS. Pretty good! But again, enough to move the needle for the Rangers, who need much more?
Texas has a ton of money to spend (and they apparently intend to) this offseason. Maybe they go crazy for Kris Bryant and Seager/Story? Trade Kiner-Falefa? Not too crazy of a thought, and the Yankees would be smart to inquire. Again, Kiner-Falefa can play short in 2022 and then move to a utility role when the next plan comes into focus.