It’s rare that, in the wake of a Yankees series loss, you get any sort of quote to genuinely latch onto/enlighten you with any new information.
Aaron Judge wants to be a Yankee for life, but he’s a free agent now, and will see where the market takes him. Anthony Rizzo thinks Judge should be the highest-paid player in baseball after betting on himself. Gerrit Cole is disgusted with losing. Aaron Boone burped into a microphone, then covered it with a cough. Par for the course.
Leave it to Yankees “stopgap” shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa for giving the fan base an interesting nugget in a sea of predictability, though.
IKF’s end to the season was tough, placing him firmly third in the seasonal vitriol rankings behind Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo. All year long, he was a contact-first utility player disguised as a starting shortstop — which wasn’t his fault. Fans had trouble stomaching his existence, though, because he came attached to Josh Donaldson’s money and represented the Yankees passing on Carlos Correa/Trevor Story/Corey Seager.
Whatever IKF did, it was bound to not be enough. Then he began making untimely errors in the postseason, leading to his benching, eventual reinstatement, and one last untimely misplay on a double play feed from Gleyber Torres in ALCS Game 4.
These struggles, and the harm he endured from the fan base he grew up a member of, have led him questioning his future with the team, despite having one more year of team control.
Will Isiah Kiner-Falefa be with the Yankees in 2023?
It’s a shame Kiner-Falefa may have been chased out of town. It’s also a shame that the Yankees utilized him improperly all season long, and may never know the value a “utility player” version of Kiner-Falefa, who plays 100 games per year and splits time at second/third, might provide. Without a healthy DJ LeMahieu, his profile at the plate could’ve been important.
At this point, though, Kiner-Falefa is somewhere just below Josh Donaldson on the “cannot return” list, and might not be able to work his way off the list entirely this offseason.
If the Yankees get rid of Kiner-Falefa just one year after attaching Donaldson’s contract to him to pry him away from Minnesota, the front office should be investigated once more for the haphazard way they prioritize the wrong assets. That won’t happen, though, and instead the 27-year-old lifelong Yankee fan will be exiled like the move never happened, clearing a path for shortstop in the Bronx to be manned by … probably Andrelton Simmons over Oswald Peraza, or something equally dreadful.