The New York Yankees expect Oswald Peraza to win the starting shortstop job in 2023 and send Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the bench. It is possible that IKF features on the hot corner if general manager Brian Cashman finds a way to offload Josh Donaldson, but given his baggage and lofty price tag, it is unlikely.
In the scenario that Donaldson sticks around, the Yankees may try to offload Kiner-Falefa via trade. One team that stands out as a potential landing spot is the Boston Red Sox, who just lost Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres on a monster free-agent deal.
Bogaerts was Boston’s best player by a fair margin, but replacing him at shortstop is easier said than done. If the Yankees are keen on moving IKF, Boston could be a perfect match to fill their vacant shortstop job.
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The Yankees can afford to lose Isiah Kiner-Falefa:
At 27 years old, IKF hit .261 with a 31.4% on-base rate, four homers, and 40 RBIs this past season. He hosted a 13.6% strikeout rate and a 6.6% walk rate with an 85wRC+. Most don’t see IKF as an everyday starter, but he features a high batting average and doesn’t strike out much, making contact frequently. He also set a personal record of 22 stolen bases in 2022.
The Bombers signed IKF to a one-year, $6 million deal this off-season, but he doesn’t project as an everyday starter if Donaldson and Peraza remain on the roster.
In addition, Gleyber Torres is still slotted in as the starting second baseman, but that could change if Cashman wants to trade for bullpen support or a bigger package for a player like Bryan Reynolds or Pablo Lopez from Miami.
This off-season is far from over, but clearing $6 million off the books to reallocate toward a position that could use support certainly shouldn’t be out of the question. You don’t see Yankees – Red Sox trades very often, but in this case, Boston is struggling to get anything done, and sending IKF up north might end up being a benefit for the Yanks.