Yankees’ $6 million deal answers first question of shortstop dilemma

After an up-and-down first season in The Bronx, the Yankees and Isiah Kiner-Falefa avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $6 million deal for next season, a source confirmed.

There had been thought around the industry that there was a slight chance the Yankees might non-tender Kiner-Falefa, but that would have been a surprise.

Kiner-Falefa’s role in 2023 remains undetermined, especially after the Yankees used three different starting shortstops in the first three games of the ALCS, hardly a recipe for success.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa signed a $6 million with the Yankees for next season.
Getty Images

With Kiner-Falefa benched for defensive woes, the Yankees went to Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza against Houston and the middle of the infield continues to be a question mark early in the offseason.

Kiner-Falefa could still be traded and the Yankees have also shopped Gleyber Torres since last season. Torres is expected to get close to $10 million in arbitration and is coming off a solid season both at the plate and at second base.

Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have both talked up the team’s young prospects and said there could be competition in the middle infield during spring training.

That figures to include Peraza — unless he’s included in a trade — Cabrera, as well as Anthony Volpe, who finished last season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“I think we’re all looking forward to seeing what these kids can do, competing for a spot in the spring,’’ Cashman said Thursday at the Covenant House Sleep Out, where he helped raise awareness and funds for homeless youth.

“It doesn’t mean they’re going to oust who’s in those spots either,” the general manager said. “And when they’re ready, you make room for them one way or another.”

Kiner-Falefa would be a high-priced backup infielder and Cabrera showed he could play around the infield, as well as the corner outfield spots.

Volpe figures to need more seasoning at Triple-A, while Peraza impressed in his short stint in the majors last season, playing short and second.

“Clearly, the infield is an area of strength for us- more so than probably any other aspect,” Cashman said. “[We have] some really high-end young kids pushing their way up, saying they want it to be their turn now.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa hits a double in Game 4 of the 2022 ALCS against the Astros.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa hits a double in Game 4 of the 2022 ALCS against the Astros.
USA TODAY Sports

“We certainly like the infield we finished with and we like the young guys that are coming up,’’ Cashman said.

“And we’ll look forward to spring training to sorting it all out,’’ Cashman said. “Unless I sort it out before that.’’

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