2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa
Maybe Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s already been threatened by Oswald Peraza’s success at Triple-A, but Cabrera’s presence puts an exclamation point on that. Why? Because, at the very least, the Yankees could’ve downgraded IKF to a utility bench role had the Yankees decided to start Peraza’s (or Anthony Volpe’s) clock in 2023.
Now, they might not even need to do that if they don’t want to! Cabrera can play shortstop, and even his bat hasn’t been bad enough for the Yankees to second guess replacing IKF’s offensive output with it.
But fans have to be optimistic. After seeing what’s transpired in 2022, there’s no way the Yankees continue with IKF as their starting shortstop and opt to either keep one of their top prospects in the minor leagues or not sign one of the many options that will be available again in free agency.
Should the Yankees bring somebody else in, IKF’s MLB experience might not even be enough to land him a utility role with the team. New York can non-tender or trade him and save millions while elevating Cabrera to the deserved opportunity, given his early impact.
He’s the definition of a “stopgap” who the fans already ruined the relationship with.