You wanna talk about "running it back," the New York Yankees' specialty? Well, look no further than the Winter Meetings rumors we've heard in the early going this week! Though the Bombers have a number of promising possibilities on the horizon, there are also a couple of troubling developments.
Apparently, for every Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Juan Soto connection, there's an Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Wandy Peralta rumor lurking. Yup.
Per the latest from MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Yankees are interested in reunions with IKF and Peralta. The 40-man roster currently sits at 37, and you can imagine at least four players will be sent to San Diego if a Soto trade goes down, so the scary part is that there's plenty of room for the Yankees to be complacent.
Fans might support re-signing Peralta, but 2023 proved to be a year the left-hander avoided disaster rather than created his own path for success. He was more lucky than good (5.05 FIP vs 2.83 ERA), proving the Yankees could do better in free agency or via trade (especially since Peralta will more than likely be looking for a payday, being it's his first time hitting the open market). His return also does nothing to improve the Yankees' current situation.
And IKF? Is this an actual joke? Please tell us it's a joke. Even though the Yankees started using him properly towards the end of his tenure, there's absolutely no reason for this. He proved to be mediocre at his best, and his hit profile isn't strong enough for what the lineup actually needs.
Yankees free agency nightmare emerges with reunions that don't upgrade roster
Every year we're having these same exact conversations about the Yankees refusing to move on from the driftwood that either drags the roster down or keeps it stagnant. There's nothing wrong with IKF or Peralta. They both can hold their own in MLB, but the Yankees need more than what they can offer.
For a second there, it seemed as if the front office was finally on board. They parted with Domingo Germán and five others at the onset of the offseason. They traded Jake Bauers. They non-tendered Albert Abreu, Lou Trivino and Anthony Misiewicz. They didn't even dream about re-signing Luis Severino, who went to the Mets. They cut Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks loose before the year ended. A number of others are still floating in free agency.
But bringing back both IKF and Peralta would show the Yankees aren't serious about upgrading at key positions. There are two ways to go about this. You either introduce the younger players who need to prove their worth, or you find superior options elsewhere.
Even with bigger potential imports like Yamamoto and Soto, the Yankees need to bring in new faces at the margins to get rid of the 2022 end-of-season stink and overall 2023 disaster. Keeping more and more of the status quo is harmful.
Paying for more of the same with IKF and investing in Peralta's expected regression years represents exactly what's plagued the Yankees the last four years. Make it stop. Now.