clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yankees avoid arbitration with Isiah Kiner-Falefa by signing one-year deal

IKF is set to earn $6 million in his final year before free agency.

Division Series - New York Yankees v Cleveland Guardians - Game Three Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Yankees have arbitration and non-tender decisions ahead of them for a number of different players, but they reportedly took care of business with one on Friday afternoon. Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa came to the Yankees last March with two years remaining before free agency, and regardless of his shaky-at-best 2022 performance, he was due for a raise in his final year of arbitration.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees and IKF have come to an agreement.

The Yankees have confirmed that they did indeed avoid arbitration with IKF.

Despite Kiner-Falefa’s frequently frustrating results in 2022, it never seemed particularly likely that the Yanekes would nontender him. These days, $6 million is not a staggering number, even for someone who should be a role player at best.

The Yankees stood behind Kiner-Falefa’s defense all year long, so it would have been a surprise to see them do an about-face and cut him loose, even if they thought that they could bring him back for a little less guaranteed money. At the very least, they could still shop IKF this offseason anyway; remember that the guys they traded to get IKF in the first place were initially tendered contracts for 2022 (now-free agent Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela, who coincidentally was just dealt to the Angels). Popular opinion on Kiner-Falefa might be low, but I can all but assure you that the Yankees aren’t the only organization to think that he has some value.

There’s a reasonable argument that the Yankees simply shouldn’t have concerned themselves with the low risk of losing IKF considering how little he brings to the table — an 85 wRC+ and 1.3 fWAR aren’t exactly important. After all, with Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, and top prospect Anthony Volpe, there are a number of different in-house shortstops available even before looking into free agency or the trade market. But it’s not a shock to see the Yankees throw $6 million at IKF just to stick around in the interim.

A lot can change between now and Opening Day against the Giants on April 1st. For now, IKF is in the Yankees’ plans.