Isiah Kiner-Falefa looks for a new Yankees role, fans call it a redemption effort

Isiah Kiner-Falefa in Yankees uniform is playing as a shortstop and in Rangers gear as a catcher.

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TAMPA, FL. — With Opening Day just a week away, it seems that Isiah Kiner-Falefa is not in the race for becoming the Yankees shortstop. However, his role with the Yankees is as unclear as ever.

“Whatever happens, happens,” Kiner-Falefa told on Wednesday. “I just want to win. That’s all I’m worried about right now. I am ready for whatever I need to do.”

The latest option includes Kiner-Falefa working out as a catcher for the first time in four years. He wore catcher’s gear for the last time in 2019 when he started 31 games behind the plate for the Rangers.

But on Wednesday, at Steinbrenner Field, he was going to do his first job as a Yankee behind the plate. Kiner-Falefa is aware he has no chance at shortstop. His focus is on turning as versatile as possible to get a spot on the bench in The Bronx.

“I think they expected me to bring it up when I did,” Kiner-Falefa said of how other teammates reacted as he tried some catching drills. “If I’m gonna do this, I want to be the best utility player I can be. I don’t want to do it halfway.”

The Yankees don’t have enough catchers right now because Jose Trevino, Ben Rortvedt, and Austin Wells are hurt. Kyle Higashioka is still at the World Baseball Classic. IKF may help them, as he did for the Rangers starting from 2016.

“I looked at it as a good opportunity,” the player said.

Kiner-Falefa also spent time training in center field and felt “very, very comfortable.”

Hi athleticism is likely to aid his bid to be behind the plate, a position he played for the first time in 2016 at Double-A when he was losing at-bats in the infield to other Rangers prospects. There, hewas an All-Star. In 2018, the Rangers called him first as an infielder but later he switched back to a catcher.

Kiner-Falefa started 35 games at catcher in 2018, and 31 games in 2019. Since then, he has only played infield.

Since then, the way the position is played has changed, and pitch framing is now much more important.

“Now, instead of blocking [pitches], I’ll be on one knee and you pick it,” Kiner-Falefa said of balls in the dirt. “I feel like that will be a strength for me being an infielder with good hands.”

Yankees fans react to Kiner-Falefa’s catcher tryst

Fans were happy with the team’s choice to move Kiner-Falefa from starting shortstop to a role on the bench. People also liked that he was willing to help out wherever it was needed.

He first showed signs of being a “super-utility player” in Spring Training. He played center field in many games earlier this month. The Yankees moved him down to make room for top prospect Anthony Volpe, who is likely to be on the team for Opening Day. Kiner-Falefa’s trying out new positions shows how mature he is.

‘Talkin’ Yanks’ shared a video of Isiah Kiner-Falefa discussing his plans:

Kiner-Falefa was one of the most chastised Yankees last season. Fans may not want him to be the starting shortstop, but they recognize his worth to the club. If he makes their regular-season team, it will be much praised.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a good defensive player. He won a Gold Glove Award in 2020 while playing for the Texas Rangers.

Not all Yankees fans are glad that Isiah Kiner-Falefa is still playing for the team. He is a good thing to trade. If the team traded him, it would give younger players a chance to show what they can do at the MLB level. It’s hard to forget how bad he was at the plate last season.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa could be a very good all-around player for the New York Yankees.

What do you think, leave a comment below?

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