For field manager Aaron Boone, it took four games to replace New York Yankees shortstop acquisition Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the lineup. After enjoying a solid spring, Kiner-Falefa has struggled to get going at the start of the regular season, hosting a .091 average over 12 plate appearances. While it is far too soon to make any general assumptions, the Yankees didn’t only replace the former Minnesota Twin due to his offensive struggles but his defensive liabilities as well.
General manager Brian Cashman prioritized acquiring Kiner-Falefa from Minnesota, sending Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez in the trade package. They were forced to take on a two-year, $50 million remaining on Josh Donaldson’s contract, who has been serving as the lead-off hitter to start the season.
However, Cashman believes Kiner-Falefa will be the team’s everyday shortstop until Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe are ready to make the jump.
The Yankees didn’t upgrade at shortstop at all:
Isiah has been a liability early on in the season, allowing an error over 29 innings and a .929 fielding percentage. While he recorded a .972 fielding percentage last season over 1360 innings, some believe his best position is on the hot corner at third base.
It is likely that Cashman views IKF as a stop-gap at shortstop until one of the young prospects is ready, transitioning him over to third base afterward so he can serve as a valuable piece in the infield.
In the meantime, the Bombers have already injected Gleyber Torres back into the shortstop position, despite Cashman stating that upgrading the spot was a necessity this past off-season. In one of baseball’s most luxurious shortstop free agent classes, the Yankees sat quietly with no intention of making a move.
It is disappointing to see that the Yankees were forced to make a defensive shift after just four games with their new shortstop acquisition. While IKF will undoubtedly be back in the lineup shortly, having already committed an error and suffered significant deficiencies at the plate, it is not exactly the start the Yankees were hoping for at a position everybody knew was a liability, to begin with.