Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post
Edited by Liz
Isiah Kiner-Falefa? Oswald Peraza? Anthony Volpe? Who is playing shortstop for the New York Yankees?
In 2022 the New York Yankees made a blockbuster trade, trading starting catcher Gary Sanchez and starting third baseman Gio Urshela to the Minnesota Twins for catcher Ben Rodervt, MVP third basemen Josh Donaldson, and utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF), who actually has won a gold glove at third base.
Since Josh Donaldson was an MVP award winner and a natural third basemen, the Yankees decided to move IKF to shortstop. This move was supposed to be a promise to fans that the Yankees are dedicated to having competent fielding while still grooming their young. players in the minor leagues. However the move left even die-hard Yankees fans shaking their heads. It is hard to describe the fan reactions towards IKF during the 2022 season but to boil it down, they were not pleased.
It seemed like every other day fans were taking to Twitter to air out their grievances towards IKF. It all came to a head in the 2022 playoffs when IKF was eventually benched while the Yankees were facing elimination.
At the end of the season, a fan would tweet, "Trading for Josh Donaldson and playing IKF for the whole year will remain two of the biggest talking points at the end of 2022. A trade that will haunt them next year too."
Yankees brass still had a soft spot for Falefa though because after the season, the Yankees decided to sign IKF to a one-year, $6 million contract.
That brings us to Oswald Peraza, the 52nd ranked prospect in MLB who spent 2017-2022 in the New York Yankees minor league farm system. Peraza was called up at the end of the 2022 season where he batted with a .306 batting average, with 15 hits and 1 home run in 48 plate appearances.
It turns out, Peraza was who the Yankees would turn to when the season was on the line against the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Yankees ended up getting swept by the Astros. Peraza only had 3 at bats, striking out twice.
And then there is Anthony Volpe, the lifelong Yankees fan from New Jersey, who is the 5th highest ranking prospect in the minor leagues who has been getting at bats in spring training.
During spring training, Volpe has a .277 average, with 13 hits, 3 home runs, and 5 RBIs in 47 at bats. The league wide average for batting average is .250.
Both Peraza and Volpe have done this without making the fielding errors that lead many fans to turn on IKF.
With a week left in spring training, Brian Cashman, the General Manager of the Yakees, has indicated that the short stop battle won’t be decided until the very end.
Many have compared Volpe to beloved Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter. And it's not only fans making the comparisons, former Yankee, Willie Randolph. has compared the two shortshops.
The conversation surrounding what the Yankees will do surrounding the Derek Jeter and Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza are similar.
Back in 1996, a rookie Derek Jeter was having a bad spring training and the Yankees were thinking about sending Jeter back down to the minors and going with veteran shortstop, Tony Fernandez.
Tony Fernandez ended up breaking his arm and as Jeter put it, the Yankees were stuck with him.
Jeter won the Rookie of the Year in 1996, 5 World Series Championships, and a World Series MVP and amassed over 3,000 hits in his 19 year Yankees career.
It is unlikely that an injury will help the Yankees make their decision this year.
Will Peraza or Volpe be the next Jeter? We will never know if the Yankees don’t make a decision.
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