Isiah Kiner-Falefa expects Yankees to trade him, admits future uncertain


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The Yankees are out to reconsider their choice at shortstop for the second year in a row and this spells an uncertain future for Isiah Kiner-Falefa. As big stars, such as Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and probably Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa, are going to be available, the Yankees may be tempted to trade him and sign any of the stars.

Last season, the Yankees hoped to get rising stars in their system, including Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, who just finished his season at Triple-A, into the position. But after the ALCS disaster, they are likely to be in the market for a new shortstop.

This has pushed Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who has failed to live up to fans’ expectations with a below-par performance, into a corner. He expects the Yankees to trade him.

According to Isiah Kiner-Falefa:

“I hope I’m here. But I could be traded. We’ll see how things go.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s defense divides fans and his offense isn’t very exciting. They could not rely on Kiner-Falefa, who is about to start his last year of arbitration and would be worth somewhere between $6 and $7 million. At best, the Yankees could see him as a stopgap or a versatile player with good contact skills and good athleticism.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa had his first season in New York this year, He was with the Rangers last year and had worked out with his old teammate from Texas, Joey Gallo, who had a short postseason in New York.

“I was always telling [Gallo] every day, I was like, ‘Dude, you’re working out for a World Series every single day,’ ” said Kiner-Falefa, who had never won a trophy in four years with the Rangers. He continued, “I was just working out to put up good numbers — I might get traded, put myself in a good situation for a good team.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa ended up with the Yankees, who admired his defensive skills. Manager Aaron Boone once told “you could make a case” that he should be one of the Gold Glove finalists. However, the metrics were mixed. Kiner-Falefa was the seventh-best shortstop in terms of defensive runs saved, but he was only 25th in terms of outs above average.

After making several mistakes in Game 3 of the ALDS, Isiah Kiner-Falefa was taken out of the lineup and only started two of the Yankees’ last six playoff games.

Kiner-Falefa has the bat-to-ball skills the Yankees need, but he lacks much power. His .642 OPS was his lowest in a season where he played 100 games.

The Yankees could have spent a lot of money on Correa, who had the best OPS of any shortstop at .834 or on Corey Seager, who just joined the Rangers, was seventh with a batting average of .772.

“The chips weren’t really in my favor from the moment I got here with the other free agents that were on the market,” Isiah Kiner-Falefa said, “I kind of just played my own game, but [fans] wanted the 30-home-run guy and better defense. But another full offseason of working at shortstop, hopefully, I can keep improving.”

“We’ll see where I’m playing next year,” Kiner-Falefa said, adding that he owns a Gold Glove at third base.

If Isiah Kiner-Falefa went back to playing shortstop, he wouldn’t be the most popular choice again. He may have to fight with Peraza, who had an OPS of .832 in his first 18 games in the major leagues, or Volpe, who is the best prospect and is from New Jersey. Others will want to sign the best free agents.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa and his family had to deal with bullying on social media during a season when his bat failed to fire up. His father, in particular, got a message saying someone had “shot dead” the player.

He hopes there will be a second season in The Bronx after the difficult first. The player said:

“It’s sad that the season is over, but I’m looking at it as the start of me getting better. I feel like if I keep pushing, I’ll have something to really drive and fuel me, so that’s exciting. Losing hurts, but it’s a good kind of pain.”

What do you think about Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s future? Leave a comment below.

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