When Isiah Kiner-Falefa departed the New York Yankees last week for the Toronto Blue Jays, he was bid a proper farewell accompanied by a sigh of relief. Did IKF deserve better in the Bronx? Absolutely. Did he need to overstay his welcome beyond 2023? Absolutely not.
Yankees fans feared Brian Cashman and the front office would bring him back, keep him in the same role where he was largely uncomfortable, and not make the necessary changes to elevate a middling roster.
Thankfully, Toronto paid $15 million for IKF in hopes of using him in a utility role to ostensibly replace free agent Whit Merrifield. If they deploy him correctly, it could be a useful addition. But even then ... IKF is decidedly below average, for as much as we appreciate his effort and dedication. That's just what the stats say.
It was obvious why IKF left. Though he always dreamed of being a Yankee, the fit wasn't right, and he was never going to get paid that kind of money to stay with the team. The 28-year-old needs to maximize his paydays, because he hasn't exactly flaunted his maximum value the last few years.
But we can confidently say he didn't leave the Yankees to join a "winning" environment in Toronto because ... the Blue Jays never win? What was IKF trying to say here?
Did Isiah Kiner-Falefa just take a shot at Yankees with Blue Jays comments?
The Blue Jays couldn't have been more ready to win these last two years, and all they have to show for it are ... zero playoff wins. They're 0-6 in the postseason dating back to 2017. We understand there's that introductory PR every player attempts to conduct when joining a new team ... but this just isn't it.
Because, in a way, though he didn't say it explicitly, it feels like IKF is taking a mini shot at the Yankees, who missed the playoffs this past season and got steamrolled by the Astros in the 2022 ALCS. And for as bad as the Yankees have been, they singlehandedly eliminated Toronto from the playoffs in 2021 and then won the AL East on their home turf and booted the Jays farther down the Wild Card ladder in 2022.
The Blue Jays, in fact, might be the least accomplished AL East team in the modern era. And that's saying a lot when you consider how bad the Yankees have been. Toronto's made the playoffs just five times since 1994. They've made it past the Wild Card Round/ALDS twice. They have zero pennants and zero World Series.
Really, it's between them and the Orioles for overall ineptitude The Red Sox, Rays and Yankees lap both of those franchises, and it's not even close.
Per reports, the Yankees were among the many teams chasing IKF. He chose the Blue Jays. At first, we thought it was about the money, but now he appears to be singing a different tune, which slights his former team. It could all be lip service to stick the landing in Toronto, but something doesn't feel right here.