Dodgers Rumors: Should LA Explore Trading for Isiah Kiner-Falefa?

Last week, a rumor surfaced involving the Dodgers and Yankees shortstop/utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The Dodgers have a need for a utility infielder for the bench and the Yankees are likely moving away from IKF as the starting shortstop after just one season. So, it seems like there’s some connective tissue there for sure.

But, do the Dodgers need to swing a trade for a player like Kiner-Falefa? Our Doug McKain dives into the topic on Dodgers Nation TV where he feels there’s at least a little smoke to the rumor.

When Gavin Lux tore his ACL earlier this month, it created a cascade effect on the rest of the roster. In the offseason, LA traded for Miguel Rojas and had him pegged for a bench role all around the infield. Now, he’s pressed into duty as the starting shortstop most nights and that changed the plan for the front office.

As it stands, the bench is the biggest question mark for the Dodgers. Austin Barnes will be there. And whoever is not starting in the outfield between David Peralta, Trayce Thompson, Jason Heyward, and Chris Taylor will be there. So, it feels like there’s a need for more infield help. Taylor will see time at shortstop and second base, plus Dave Roberts says we could see more CT3 at 3B this season, but they say that every year and usually it doesn’t happen.

Kiner-Falefa is solid-plus glove at shortstop, third base, and second base, and he has MLB experience as a catcher. On offense, he’s not great (82 career wRC+). He might not even be good, but he’s adequate enough to keep a job as a big league bench piece.

The question for the Dodgers is, is that worth trading for? A couple weeks ago, Andrew Friedman made it seem like the club was more inclined to stay in house to at least start the season, but if the Yankees do decide to hand the keys to shortstop to one of their heralded rookies, then they might look to trim payroll a bit and send IKF away in any fair deal.

Where Doug makes a great point in his recent edition of Dodgers Dougout (and on our Blue Heaven live stream on Monday) is that what makes a connection between LA and New York even better is where each team has its surpluses. For the Dodgers, there are too many outfielders at this point. For the Yankees, they have too many infielders. So what about a Trayce Thompson for Isiah Kiner-Falefa deal?

“I’m using this as an opportunity to button up that depth to button up that infield defense. And that is what IKF could bring to this team. Now, who would they give up now? Trayce Thompson is an interesting name because the Yankees need another corner outfielder. Trayce Thompson is a guy [whose] metrics point to some regression this year. … So could there be a sell high possibility right now? Sending Trayce Thompson to the Yankees in exchange for IKF, I definitely see that as a realistic possibility.”

Via Dodgers Nation TV

As Doug also pointed out, Kiner-Falefa is under team control for just one more year, so the Dodgers wouldn’t be tied to him long term. And his $6 million contract wouldn’t break the bank for LA. It would actually be offset by a little over $1 million if Thompson did head back to the Yankees.

It’s a trade that makes sense for both sides but it may not happen immediately.

Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor and manager of DodgersNation.com, and a host and analyst on DN's Blue Heaven podcast live stream. Since joining Dodgers Nation, Clint has helped grow the site into a top-50 baseball website in the world. He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future. He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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