Yankees Free Agent Who Will Leave: Isiah Kiner-Falefa
There was a time this season when it didn't feel crazy to suggest that Kiner-Falefa, who grew into a utility role at times in 2023 (while being forced to play the outfield!), could return on a universally enjoyed two-year deal at $7 million/per.
Now? That sounds pretty crazy to suggest.
IKF finished his season commensurate with his career norms, though he was encouraged to try lots of new things in the process (like the exotic flavors of left field!). A year after he posted an 84 OPS+ as the team's starting shortstop and spent the whole campaign being unnecessarily reviled by the fan base, he posted a 78 OPS+ this past season, hitting nearly 20 points lower (.261 to .242) in 30 fewer games.
Kiner-Falefa did everything asked of him and more in 2023. He occasionally sparkled defensively in the outfield, even though he never should've been there in the first place. He screamed with joy after realizing he wasn't being traded at the deadline, and earns bonus marks in the mind's eye for being a genuine fan of this team.
That said, while his 2022 performance under difficult circumstances deserved some more love, his 2023 performance (ducks) probably deserved some more hate. Sorry, man.