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Isiah Kiner-Falefa had other opportunities in free agency, says he chose Blue Jays because ‘the team is really, really good’

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Photo credit:Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
3 months ago
Free agency went better for Isiah Kiner-Falefa than he expected.
The newest Toronto Blue Jay spoke to the media on Wednesday and said he was pleasantly surprised with the amount of interest that he received from other teams, including offers to play as an everyday shortstop and centre fielder. Kiner-Falefa added that he chose to sign a two-year, $15 million contract with the Blue Jays because he believes they’re a team that can win.
“I wasn’t really expecting as many teams to call. I was kind of overwhelmed, it made me feel really good,” Kiner-Falefa said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about winning for me. I really want to win. I have the most fun when I’m winning. I feel like guys bond more. And I just wanted to be a part of something special.”
The Texas Rangers selected Kiner-Falefa out of high school in Honolulu, Hawaii in the fourth round of the 2023 draft. He broke into the Major Leagues in 2018 with the Rangers as a multi-position utility player and then settled into a role on the left side of the infield and won the American League Gold Glove for third base in 2020.
Kiner-Falefa was involved in a couple of trades just ahead of the 2022 season, as he was dealt from Texas to the Minnesota Twins and then got flipped to the New York Yankees. He played mostly shortstop in his first year in The Bronx and then shifted back into a utility role in 2023, splitting time between centre field, left field, and third base.
It isn’t known just yet where Kiner-Falefa will play the most in 2024 with the Blue Jays, but he did acknowledge that he’s “ready to play everywhere.”
As the roster is constructed at this moment, Kiner-Falefa looks like one part of Toronto’s third-base platoon, backup shortstop, and fourth outfielder. That could change, of course, if Matt Chapman is re-signed or if the Blue Jays make a trade for a different player to play the hot corner. In that case, Kiner-Falefa would likely slide into something similar to Whit Merrifield’s role, which saw the veteran split time between second base and the outfield during his time in Toronto.

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