The Rangers have a logjam in the infield right now with the additions of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, while a nice infielder, has nowhere to play once Josh Jung is ready.
The Rangers could either keep him as a backup/utility infielder or work a trade for him. If the Rangers are to move him, here are three possible trades for the Gold Glove third baseman according to this faux General Manager.
The New York Yankees
The Yankees and Rangers worked out a deal in 2021 for Joey Gallo that saw the Rangers acquire Josh Smith, Ezequiel Duran, Trever Hauver and Glenn Otto from New York. I believe that IKF and his approach would work well in New York, even if he did have to shave.
It is well known that the Yankees are in need of an everyday shortstop. They are thin at that position to say the least. While they will probably be all in on Carlos Correa, they may not land him.
The Yankees have some premiere pitching prospects that the Rangers would like to have in the fold. Here is what I would want in return for IKF.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Yeison Morrebel (OF) to Yankees for Brendon Beck (RHP), Matt Sauer (RHP) and Antiono Gomez (Catcher). That is a major-league ready player and a top 20 prospect for three top 30 prospects.
Beck played college ball at Stanford and is a good overall athlete. According to MLB.com Beck has good command of his pitches, works fast and pounds the strike zone. He is projected to see a major-league roster in 2024.
Sauer hit 96 on the radar gun his senior year in high school. He has already had Tommy John surgery and is back to hitting 93-96 since his recovery and return. He may turn into a reliever, as he has only pitched 87.1 innings of pro baseball so far, so he would be a risk with big upside for the Rangers.
Gomez is a plus defensive catcher, but arm issues have hindered him a bit. He has a quick release, and he is bi-lingual with reported good leadership skills behind the dish. As we all know, you can never have too many catching prospects, and Gomez would be a good pick-up for the Rangers.
The Tigers are probably the favorites to land Carlos Correa when the lockout ends because of A.J. Hinch and his relationship with the star shortstop. If that somehow falls through, they will need someone to fill that role on a daily basis. Here is my idea of a trade the Rangers could make with the Tigers.
IKF and outfielder Bubba Thompson for LHP Joey Wentz, RHP Beau Brieske and OF prospect Jose De La Cruz. I personally would hate to see Bubba Thompson go, but we
do have a collection of outfielders, and De La Cruz is younger and projects to make his debut later than Thompson, who really has nowhere to play at the major league level right now.
Wentz had Tommy John surgery in 2020. Before that he looked poised to make their rotation sooner rather than later. He is a pitcher that the Rangers would need to be cautious with as he works back up to a full pitch count. He has a lot of upside but also some health risks that could make the Tigers part ways with him.
Brieske played college ball in his home state of Arizona for Glendale Community College. He is a good strikeout pitcher (76 in 63 ⅔ innings in High A in 2021) with plus command. He went four straight starts without a walk to start the 2021 season. With a mid-90s fastball and a low-80s changup, it is no wonder he has a high strikeout rate.
De La Cruz, the 20-year-old international outfield prospect, was the 19th-ranked international prospect when the Tigers nabbed him. We know the Rangers love international prospects.
Still very young, he seems to be filling out well, The Tigers see upside with him being strong and naturally talented. He would be a good, young pickup for Texas for sure.
St Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are another team in need of a shortstop, and the Rangers have plenty. They could be a good landing spot for IKF, as he would be an upgrade for them. Here is what I would try and work out with the Cardinals.
IKF and Steele Walker for Edwin Nunez (RHP), Julio E. Rodriguez (catcher) and Levi Prater (LHP).
Nunez would be a great pickup for the Rangers. The 20-year-old was a highly-sought-after international prospect with his upper-90s fastball and changeup potential. He needs to improve on his command, but his age says that will happen with his raw potential.
Rodriguez has a strong and accurate arm. He has thrown out around 70 percent of attempted base stealers over his first four professional seasons. He is a defensive-minded catcher which is something the Rangers highly value. And again, it is never bad to have a stockpile of catchers.
Prater is a left-handed pitcher, and the Rangers like left-handed pitchers. Prater projects as a backend rotation guy or a bullpen guy, and either is never a bad thing. He has some developing to do but would be a good addition for the Rangers for sure.
That is an abundance of words to try and trade off a good utility infielder/shortstop, but there you have it. There were more places I could have traded him to, but these were the top three I came up with. Let me know what you think or who you would trade Isiah Kiner-Falefa for if you could play GM for a day.
“Photo – The Dallas Morning News (Louis DeLuca / Staff Photographer)”
Ben Dieter is one of the hosts of The Ranger Report Podcast here on Dallas Sports Nation. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and you can find his other writings at TheRangerReport.com or at BenDieter.com.