With a lockout underway, baseball has come to a full stop. Teams, including the New York Yankees, are unable to negotiate or speak to player representatives until the two sides come to a conclusion on a new deal.
Of course, the MLB and Players Union will iron out specifics regarding a modernized economy and how both sides believe they should get the longer end of the stick. However, once things get back to normal and teams are able to begin negotiating again, the Yankees will likely be active out of the gates.
General manager Brian Cashman clearly had a plan in mind, waiting patiently until the lockdown, potentially feeling as though he could get a bargain on the opposite side.
One name that has bubbled to the surface is Isiah Kiner-Falefa of the Texas Rangers, who has spent the last four seasons in the majors. At 26-years-old, Kiner-Falefa is eligible for arbitration in 2022 and will become a free agent in 2024. If the Yankees feel as though they can develop him further, he could be a nice addition from Texas.
The Rangers signed Marcus Semien and Corey Seager this off-season to behemoth deals, shoring up their infield and bolstering their hitting order with talented players. The Yankees didnâ€™t make any moves, but if they acquired Kiner-Falefa, who would represent a stopgap, hereâ€™s what they would be getting.
The flexible infielder hit .271 this past season with eight homers and 53 RBIs. Heâ€™s not exactly the slugger the Yankees prefer, but he stole 20 bases this past season and logged 74 runs. A speedy contact hitter with base path IQ would be a nice addition for the Yankees but would undoubtedly break their mold.
Ultimately, thereâ€™s a good chance he ends up moving to third base in the future, especially after posting a .972 fielding percentage with 19 errors over 1360 innings this past season at short. Nonetheless, he earned a Gold Glove playing both 3B and SS during the Covid abbreviated season, showcasing potential moving forward.
Given the Rangers have stacked their infield, the Yankees might be able to acquire him on a more cost-effective deal compared to spending lucrative money for a player like Carlos Correa or even Trevor Story.