Sports Update 

The Yankees have a big question looming in the off-season

October 20 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees short Oswald Peraza (91) is thrown to first base on the grounds by Houston Astros quarterback Chas McCormick (20) during the seventh inning in Game Two of the ALCS at the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are facing a big question once again at Shortstop. Having tried to solve the problem for years at this point, general manager Brian Cashman continues to search for answers even after acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa from the Minnesota Twins ahead of the 2022 season.

This deal with the Twins could end up being one of Cashman’s worst deals to date, given that he took $50 million over two years to acquire IKF, who was put off the bench during the playoffs due to his defensive weaknesses.

However, the Yankees are now looking into the 2023 season, and IKF can certainly be left out of the equation. The 27-year-old hit .261 with an average of 31.4% based on, four homers, and 48 RBIs. He scored 22 high-ranked steals, and finished with a strike rate of 13.6% and a walk rate of 6.6%. The 85 in wRC+ indicates he’s 15% worse than the average league player, so despite hitting the friction, the Yankees didn’t get an average quality performance from him. The team paid $4.7 million for the 2022 season, but with one year left to arbitrate the Kiner-Falefa deal, it will be interesting to see how much its price goes up.

The Yankees may have a chance to secure an IKF position next season:

There is a possibility that Cashman is looking to cancel Donaldson’s contract and move the IKF to a third base, which will open up a short position. IKF won the Golden Glove in the hot corner several years ago, giving Oswald Peraza a chance to close the shortstop position, at least until Anthony Volpi is ready to move into the bigger companies.

The question is, when will Volpi be ready to make the transition? He’s jumped to Triple-A this season, spending 22 games there, hitting .236 with three homeowners and five RBIs. He’s been great with Double-A Somerset, so he only needs a few months with Scranton to prove his worth.

If Volpi is ready to make the leap, he could flip the Yankees on deadline to resolve any issues that may arise throughout the season, but we saw a glimpse of his elite defensive capabilities against Houston in the playoffs, suggesting he should get a fair crack in the act. There is also an opportunity to trade in Gleyber Torres, and they may want to move Peraza to a second base.

Instead, they will have to use a gap stop if they are 100% committed to Volpe and don’t want to give Peraza a real chance to be the long-term solution at short notice.

One thing is for sure, there should be no consideration for IKF remaining in the SS going forward. Just take a look at the Houston Astros and how they stuck with rookie Jeremy Peña, who demolished the entire Yankees in the ALCS. Sometimes fixed rackets go a long way toward helping a young player, which is why throwing Peraza into a singles game against Houston has always been a problematic decision.

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