Yankees have completely benched veteran utility man

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees

The New York Yankees have made an about-face in strategy over the past few weeks, giving a significant number of their prospects the nod to finish out the season. What’s even more impressive? They’ve managed to stack up wins despite having seasoned veterans benched and contending with a slew of injuries.

The Curious Case of Isiah Kiner-Falefa

However, utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa has seen limited action in September, accumulating a mere 17 at-bats and making the lineup in just six games, four of which he started. Clearly, the Yankee decision-makers are keener on evaluating the younger talent, seeking larger sample sizes to gauge their impact for the 2024 season and beyond.

The Yankees’ Dilemma: Manager’s Favorite vs. Organizational Future

Though Kiner-Falefa is a managerial favorite under Aaron Boone, the organization’s long-term outlook takes precedence over keeping a utility player with a contract nearing its end. The Yankees did extend him a $6 million deal for the 2023 season, but he may look for opportunities elsewhere if the front office doesn’t see value in retaining him.

Digging into the Numbers

At 28, Kiner-Falefa boasts a .239 batting average with a .306 OBP, rounding out his stats with six homers, 35 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, an 18.6% strikeout rate, an 8.1% walk rate, and an 82 wRC+. He’s recorded only a 0.2 WAR this season, a disappointing stat line that leaves something to be desired.

The Versatility Quandary

Sure, Kiner-Falefa’s ability to cover multiple infield positions and some outfield slots does offer him a semblance of value as a supplementary asset. However, his spot in the starting lineup is questionable at best. His offensive metrics are less than stellar, and he’s no match for the Yankees’ preference for power hitters. If he’s not reaching base at least 32% of the time, he needs to be smacking double-digit homers every year to increase his batting value.

A Look at the Youthful Alternatives

As prospect Oswald Peraza is expected to ascend to the big leagues in 2024, Kiner-Falefa’s utility in the infield becomes even less critical. For outfield positions, the Yankees have an abundance of young options such as Everson Pereira and possibly even Estevan Florial, who has shown promise towards the end of this season.

Twins’ Acquisitions: Time for a Roster Shake-Up?

Interestingly, the players acquired from the Minnesota Twins in the 2022 off-season might be setting their sights elsewhere. This could offer the Yankees a fresh start, allowing them to focus on their future, free from the burden of past trading mistakes.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: