Yankees News: Isiah Kiner-Falefa trade rumors, 3rd base poses a problem

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees
Feb 20, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa (12) works out during spring training practice at George M Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a few significant decisions to make ahead of the regular season in just two weeks. Ranging from Anthony Volpe’s potential promotion to Isiah Kiner-Falefa enjoying reps in centerfield, things are surely getting interesting, but management is keeping things under wraps.

General manager Brian Cashman indicated that trades tend to heat up during the second half of spring training, so the team may execute a move or two over the next few days. Of course, IKF makes the most sense, given the Yankees would save $6 million, and they’ve been changing his alignment daily to expand upon his value.

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Isiah Kiner-Falefa will likely be on the trade block:

The primary goal behind trading IKF would be to save his salary and add a potential prospect to the mix. In addition, it would help solve the log jam in the infield, with Oswald Peraza expected to take over full-time at shortstop and Volpe playing well enough during spring training to justify elevation.

I think the likeliest outcome for the Yankees and Kiner-Falefa is exploring a trade before the start of the season.

Via Chris Kirschner and Brendan Kuty of The Athletic.

One way or another, IKF has one year left before he hits free agency and is no longer a Yankee, so they might as well cash in now and extract any remaining value. They already have DJ LeMahieu and Oswaldo Cabrera as their primary utility options, so there’s no reason to keep Isiah on the roster unless injuries pop up over the next two weeks.

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees
Mar 5, 2023; North Port, Florida, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) slides safely into second base as New York Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa (12) receives the throw at CoolToday Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Donaldson will start the season at 3B for the Yankees:

The fact the Yankees aren’t considering DJ LeMahieu as their starting first baseman for Opening Day is quite interesting. Josh Donaldson is coming off arguably his worst professional season at 37 years old. The veteran hit .222 with a .308 OBP, 15 homers, and 62 RBIs with a 27.1% strikeout rate, the highest in his career. He posted a sub 100 wRC+ for the first time since 2012 and logged a 1.6 WAR, showcasing a steep decline in production.

Nonetheless, manager Aaron Boone has made it clear that Donaldson will start the season as the team’s primary option on the hot corner. LeMahieu performed exceptionally well at third base in 2022, but they want to manage his workload and maintain his health throughout the duration of the 2023 season.

Unfortunately, that means Donaldson will once again try to resurrect his career despite his power and metrics falling off a cliff and his entire batting approach failing to produce results.

As for Donaldson, the Yankees seem set on having him be the team’s starting third baseman come Opening Day. Boone has already said as much. 

Via Chris Kirschner and Brendan Kuty of The Athletic.

The Donaldson we once knew during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays and even Minnesota Twins two years ago doesn’t even closely resemble the player we’ve seen donning the pinstripes. He’s become a liability as an offensive piece, and the Yankees will inevitably move on after the 2023 campaign since he’ll be a free agent. If not for his lofty price tag, the Yankees may not consider him a legitimate starter to begin with.