According to Robert Murray at FanSided and @HavokAndrew on the social media site X, the Toronto Blue Jays and free agent Isiah Kiner-Falefa have agreed to a two-year contract worth $15 million (pending physical). The deal itself also includes up to $1 million in incentives.
The Hawaii product has spent the past two seasons with the New York Yankees after being traded during the 2021-2022 offseason from Texas to Minnesota and then out east.
Over the past two campaigns, Kiner-Falefa has posted a .253/.311/.333 slash line with 32 doubles, 10 home runs, and 85 RBIs to the tune of a 81 OPS+. Kiner-Falefa also brings some speed to the Jays lineup, stealing 14 bases last season and adds some depth to the Jays roster given his ability to play multiple positions and hit from the right side.
The versatile 28-year old spent most of the 2022 campaign at shortstop, putting forth a 10 DRS through 138 games. With the emergence of star prospect Anthony Volpe earlier this spring, Kiner-Falefa worked more of a utility role last season and made starts at third base, left field, center field, right field, and a few innings split between second base and shortstop as well.
The Toronto Blue Jays add Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a two-year deal
IKF posted a -4 DRS in the outfield spots and has one Gold Glove Award to his name, earned back in 2020 when he spent most of the year at third base.
For the Blue Jays, Kiner-Falefa can fill in a few different spots for the squad, namely at third base and left field given recent offseason departures.
The Jays former third baseman Matt Chapman is looking for a large payday this offseason and given the addition of Kiner-Falefa and other internal options like Santiago Espinal, Davis Schneider, and Cavan Biggio, a reunion between Chapman and Toronto is likely no more.
This also likely signals no reunion with Whit Merrifield as well, who suited up between left field and second base for the club since the 2022 trade deadline.
Kiner-Falefa’s ability to play on the left side of the diamond gives the club some breathing room although creates a bit of a logjam with the current group that could see Espinal or Biggio potentially traded this winter as well.
The Kiner-Falefa signing comes a day after the Blue Jays inked center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million, adding more than $25.5 million to the payroll over the next two years. While this signing potentially helps solve the hole at third base and adds some utility to the roster, the Jays could still use the addition of a power bat before Spring Training.