The New York Yankees finally got off the mat on Sunday night, securing the services of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt in a deal with the Minnesota Twins, sending beloved Yankee Gio Urshela and polarizing catcher Gary Sánchez in the other direction.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the facial hair reveals!
While Donaldson came off looking like someone’s agent, Kiner-Falefa gave us a much more personal touch and a peek behind the curtain of his beard-chopping experience.
Both men have relatively well-known facial hair, even though IKF, as a player, is likely more unfamiliar to Yankee fans after accruing WAR and winning Gold Gloves in the shadows of Dallas, TX these past few years.
Donaldson’s goatee was iconic, but knowing his gruff exterior, it seemed unlikely he’d have a playful moment teasing his new look — and we were, uh, right about that.
But Kiner-Falefa? He dove right in, tweeting out the shave to the general public with glee.
Yankees new SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa shaved and idolizes Derek Jeter
Kiner-Falefa might not be known for his flowing locks, but there was a definite shock when we first glimpsed the clean-shaven version, who reported to camp on Monday morning. Truth be told, this doesn’t even look like the same guy from the video above. Truly thought it was Oswaldo Cabrera.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle Sunday night — and for good reason, the shuffle was crazy! — IKF took the opportunity to announce to the Bronx faithful that he has always wanted to emulate Derek Jeter as a shortstop, so he might as well do it for the New York Yankees.
Say what you will about free agent Carlos Correa, but he, uh, chose to slander Jeter’s defense unprompted. This kid loves Jeet. Probably a better personality fit (though if Donaldson’s here, maybe personality isn’t really a thing anymore).
Kiner-Falefa’s slick fielding and contact bat will be welcomed by a certain segment of Yankee fan, as long as he can keep his average in the .270s-.280s and hit the short porch the proper number of times.
And who knows? Maybe there’s something else to unlock here. He seems like the kind of player who will get a boost from the pinstripes instead of a pressure-packed dose of reality.