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Dodgers, Marlins, Brewers Eyeing Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Dodgers, Marlins, Brewers Eyeing Isiah Kiner-Falefa

There are plenty of clubs with some level of interest in utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa — the Yankees and Blue Jays have been linked to him this week — and the former Ranger/Yankees Swiss army knife is also of some interest to the Dodgers, Marlins and Brewers, per Fabian Ardaya and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

At 28 years old (29 in March), Kiner-Falefa is among the younger free agents on the market. Acquired by the Yankees prior to the 2022 season as their hopeful starting shortstop and bridge to top prospect Anthony Volpe, the infielder-turned-catcher-turned-infielder didn’t grab that job and run with it. However, he settled into a versatile utility role in the Bronx, ultimately taking 892 plate appearances during his two seasons there and posting a .253/.311/.333 batting line (84 wRC+) with 10 home runs, 32 doubles, a triple and 36 stolen bases (in 45 tries).

Kiner-Falefa won a Gold Glove as the Rangers’ primary third baseman during the shortened 2020 season and notched 10 Defensive Runs Saved as their main shortstop in 2021. DRS and Statcast have strongly disparate views on his work at shortstop, however, and there was at least some question among team evaluators as to whether Kiner-Falefa could handle that position moving forward. Both the Twins, who originally acquired him from the Rangers, and the Yankees, who acquired him from Minnesota just over a day later, clearly felt Kiner-Falefa could handle shortstop on a generally full-time basis in the 2021-22 offseason.

Even if the Yankees’ opinion of that changed, their fondness of the player did not. New York could’ve non-tendered or traded Kiner-Falefa following the 2022 season with both Volpe and Oswald Peraza on the cusp of the Majors. Instead, they held onto him and used him in a utility capacity this past season, giving Kiner-Falefa his first MLB looks in the outfield (in addition to time at shortstop, second base and third base).

Kiner-Falefa didn’t grade especially well at any one position other than third base this past season, but the newfound versatility undoubtedly enhances his appeal to teams. Given his age, above-average sprint-speed, solid arm strength and the athleticism he’s shown by playing multiple positions, there’s likely some belief that he could yet improve on his glovework at various positions with more experience. Kiner-Falefa also boasts strong bat-to-ball skills (career 15.5% strikeout rate), although he couples that with a well below-average walk rate…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Milwaukee Brewers – MLB Trade Rumors…