Yankees looking to cash veteran utility man at the deadline

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees
May 27, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa (12) hits a walk off RBI single in the tenth inning against the San Diego Padres at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline swiftly approaches, the New York Yankees are reported to be entertaining offers on several players. One of the notable individuals potentially on the move is veteran utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Kiner-Falefa’s Market Value

Kiner-Falefa, who is in his final year of arbitration and set to become a free agent in 2024, holds value due to his versatility in the field. His capabilities extend to playing outfield, shortstop, and third base, making him an asset.

This season, he’s clocked 463.1 innings in the outfield, achieving a .985 fielding percentage with -4 defensive runs saved and -1 outs above average. While not a stellar defensive player, Kiner-Falefa’s serviceability can’t be denied. As a utility piece, his presence can be valuable to a team requiring backup in the event of injuries during a playoff push.

Versatility in Infield Spots

Kiner-Falefa’s flexibility extends to several infield positions. He put in 1,185 innings at shortstop the previous year, resulting in 10 defensive runs saved. Moreover, he has clocked over 1,000 career innings at third base, with 17 defensive runs saved and 19 outs above average to his credit. Despite traditionally underperforming on offense, he has reached a career-high 95 wRC+ this season.

A Closer Look at IKF’s Offensive Stats

Over the course of 82 games, Kiner-Falefa has managed a .257 batting average, a .322 on-base percentage (OBP), including five homers, 28 RBIs, nine stolen bases, a 16.7% strikeout rate, and an 8.3% walk rate. Despite a rocky start to the season, his offensive contributions have been significant, raising his stock.

Considering that the Yankees do not heavily utilize Kiner-Falefa and he primarily serves as a supplementary piece, they could easily distribute his reps among their promising prospects, allowing them to prove their big-league worth.

Conclusion: Potential Win for the Yankees

If the Yankees manage to acquire a prospect for Kiner-Falefa’s expiring contract at the deadline, it could be viewed as a successful strategy. This approach could add depth to their future lineup while maintaining the team’s overall performance level.

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