Aaron Boone spoke to the media after last night's brutal Yankees loss and was asked about the defensive play of shortstop Isiah Kiner Falefa. IKF is a converted third baseman who Brian Cashman chose to be his stopgap SS while the team cheaply passed on a wave of SS free agents in hopes their young prospects are the eventual answer. They essentially put a bandaid over a wound that required surgery.
Well going with hope and prayer that IKF could be serviceable over there wasn't the right move because it turns out he's not a good defender at that position. Last night he made another bad error that led to Shohei Ohtani blasting a go ahead, and eventual game-winning, three run homer. Here's the Yankee manager's response to the question.
It's an answer that honestly may mark the beginning of my villain origin story. If I end up becoming a mass murderer you can point back to this moment as to what set off my brain to cause such rage.
The fact is that IKF isn't even an average defending shortstop. He has 12 errors with a handful more that should have counted if the official scorer wasn't bribed before the game. Seriously, if you've watched the Yankees all year it's bizarre how some of his misplays have counted as hits instead of being charged against him. He realistically should be up to around 20 off the top of my head.
Defensive metrics have always been weird. DRS (defensive runs saved) is a skewed stat that doesn't match actually watching the play. You can be forgiven with the stat if you don't have range essentially. For example, a defender may play closer in because he knows he doesn't have the arm strength to get the runner on a ball hit in the hole. You don't get penalized for playing in and having balls hit by you that normally would be outs at regular defense. That's how IKF skates by with the stat. Anyways, IKF is 4th in DRS if you go by that and I'm guessing that's what they keep telling themselves in the clubhouse.
If you go by virtually any other statistic like OAA (outs above average) he's at the very bottom of the barrel.
If you watch the games you know he's a bad defender. I'm not a scout, I'm not a coach, I'm a fan with two eyes who watches every pitch. He sucks and anyone who disagrees with that is a paid plant by the organization to push the IKF narrative. Once in a while he'll make a really nice play, but that shit quickly gets outshined when the routine ones don't get made like last night. You make that out you prevent the go ahead run coming up to the plate in the place of Ohtani. That allows you to pitch around him or just choose to not even face him all together with two outs. It was a terrible 2-0 pitch by Cole to Shohei and that's all he talked about after, but IKF needs to get the out there. Any high school shortstop makes that play.
The Yankees continue to live with IKF for no reason at all. He's a bad hitter and a bad shortstop. He provides nothing to this team in the field and shouldn't be a starter. I'll beat a dead horse here but they have an answer ready in Triple A in the form of Oswald Peraza. His calling card is defense and his bat has been excellent this season. He's on the 40 man too. All throughout baseball you're seeing contending teams call up their top prospects for a late push to the postseason. The Yankees refuse to do it and that makes me wanna stop taking this team seriously. It's fucking infuriating they won't trade their top prospects but also won't bring them up. IKF being this team's postseason shortstop is fucking horrifying to think about.
Next up for the free-falling Yankees? Tampa, who has closed the division gap to just 6 games and 5 in the loss column. They're on the verge of blowing a 15.5 game lead and I gotta hear about how IKF is one of the best defenders in the league. Does Aaron Boone think Yankee fans are stupid? Does he think we don't watch every game and don't have these numbers at our finger tips? I'm not asking him to publicly rip and shame IKF, but you also don't have to blatantly lie like that and make us look stupid. Like I said, if I turn into the Joker you know what caused this.
P.S. This isn't IKF's fault, it's Brian Cashman's. It's not IKF's fault he's being relied upon for such important outs at a position he's not good at. That's on Brian Cashman and he'll be rewarded with a nice contract extension at the end of the year because God hates me.