The Yankees have a big decision to make with Isiah Kiner-Falefa

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees

After last night’s game, it’s become even more apparent that the Yankees need to move on from IKF. At this point, he doesn’t really bring much value to the table, and he doesn’t really have a place. With Bader set to begin his rehab assignment tomorrow, that means we’ll have our center fielder back in action. IKF is also not a great center fielder, despite the team’s decision to move him there. It’s getting to the point where it’d be in everyone’s best interest if he’s dealt. 

Isiah Kiner-Falefa has little value on the Yankees:

I was a fan of IKF saying he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win games, but sadly, he isn’t helping them win games. Aside from a few nice plays made on the defensive side of things at third base, he’s been practically nonexistent. His offense is putrid, he isn’t really a “super utility” player, and the Yankees need to look to upgrade their bench in one way or another. 

For starters, it seemed during spring training that IKF could be used as a super-utility player this season. However, as we’ve seen so far, that hasn’t been the case. He’s only played center field and third base, and hasn’t accumulated any DRS, and has negative OAA between the two. I was on board with him playing multiple positions and getting his feet wet practically everywhere, but that hasn’t been how it’s been. Take away his excellent relief appearance, and IKF hasn’t really done anything well. 

He has a -0.5 fWAR and a -48 wRC+ with 26 PAs. Last night, the Yanks chose to pinch-hit him in the bottom of the 9th with Oswaldo Cabrera on 2nd. He promptly struck out, and the inning was over, but absolutely no one was surprised. It didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now. The Yankees need to start thinking about the future this season, and they need to think about how this bench will actually contribute as the season progresses. 

Someone could use his services:

IKF, on the offensive side, is one of the worst players in baseball at the moment. He is OPSing .230 on the year, has a 0.0% BB%, and doesn’t have an extra-base hit. His wOBA is .103, and he has a negative offensive WAR (-5.0), negative defensive WAR (-0.7), and negative baserunning (-0.5 BSR). He isn’t impacting the team in a positive way in any facet, and I feel like it’s best to cut ties now. 

I want him to do well because he is a good person and doesn’t deserve the harsh comments that some people say to him. There’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed, but some Yankees fans don’t seem to mind. However, he deserves to be criticized, and so does the front office. It was a bad move when they brought him in then, it was a bad move last season when he kept getting starts, and it’s a bad move now with him sitting on the bench. 

The Yankees don’t want to pinch-hit him, but they have to because the other options are just as bad. The bench needs to be drastically improved and reimagined, but that will take some time. For starters, IKF could be dealt or DFA’d, and that would get the ball rolling. Obviously, Hicks needs to go as well, but there are likely no suitors out there for him. IKF is only making $6 million and is still somewhat young. I bet the Yankees could find a team out there that would take his services. 

The IKF experiment has failed, and I am done watching it. Granted, I know he was meant to be a stopgap player, but this has gone on too long. For his sake and the team’s, he needs to be moved. A -48 wRC+ is truly shocking. I don’t think I’ve seen a player with one that low in a long time, even if it’s over just 26 PAs. He doesn’t work walks, can’t slug for anything, isn’t enough of a threat on the bases, and hasn’t been the defensive super-sub we thought he’d be. It’s time for him to go.

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