The New York Yankees spent the 2021-22 offseason selling their fans on the team’s future up the middle. After all, why would anyone want Corey Seager or Marcus Semien when the Mystery Box could be anything? It could even be Corey Seager or Marcus Semien!
Now, it’s come time for the Yankees to pay the piper, after half-heartedly running rookie Oswald Peraza out at shortstop down the stretch (and once in the ALCS!). With nearly an entire second half to establish Peraza’s rhythm, the Yankees instead kept Isiah Kiner-Falefa (a likely excellent utility player) as their starting shortstop as their robust divisional lead frittered away (a problem that went beyond IKF, but which involved him just the same).
2023 has to either be the Year of Peraza or the Year Peraza is Traded, lest Yankees fans go even wilder than they’ve already gone watching Aaron Judge being wined and dined by the NL West. There should be an opportunity for Anthony Volpe at some point, too, as long as he manages to fully conquer Triple-A first.
Per MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Yankees seem to be leaning in the right direction. The team is talking to this offseason’s crop of shortstop free agents as an Aaron Judge contingency plan, but no one we’ve heard from expects New York to seal the deal with Xander Bogaerts or Carlos Correa.
On the contrary, though, Heyman hasn’t heard a word about Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the starter, despite Hal Steinbrenner tendering him a $6 million contract. Not bad.
Yankees eliminate Isiah Kiner-Falefa as starting shortstop option, per Jon Heyman?
Per Heyman’s reporting:
"A Judge signing likely would mean the Yankees would drop their current dalliances with superstar shortstops Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and presumably Dansby Swanson. If so, they would go with a rookie — either Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe (interestingly, it doesn’t sound as if it will be Isiah Kiner-Falefa in any case)."
Ideally, the Yankees would be stacked with stars at every position as they romped their way to their first World Series since 2009.
The real world doesn’t work that way, though, and the team’s middle infield is crowded enough already without adding a $250 million contract to the depth chart.
In this instance, the correct answer is turning the job over to one of their internal future stars, then doing so once again at second base midseason. As long as Kiner-Falefa is no longer the priority, the Yankees might prosper.