The Baseball Winter Meetings are in full swing in Nashville this week, and despite re-signing Wade Miley, signing free agent pitcher Joe Ross, and extending top prospect Jackson Chourio, the Brewers may not be done for the week. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Milwaukee is interested in former Yankee Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
The 28-year old is was the starting shortstop for New York in 2022, before pivoting to a utility role in 2023 primarily appearing as an outfielder. Kiner-Falefa has a career slash line of .261/.314/.346, and is coming off of a 2023 season where he slashed .242/.306/.340 with 6 home runs in 361 plate appearances.
Kiner-Falefa has a career 81 OPS+, well below league average and is not known for his bat. Throughout his six-season career, he has never recorded an OPS above. 700, nor an OPS+ above 100.
While he is not impressive offensively, his defensive versatility makes him valuable. Throughout his career Kiner-Falefa has at least appeared at every position except for first base, though he has spent the most time at shortstop and third base. The Brewers place an emphasis on defense as one of their strengths, which is likely why they have interest in the veteran infielder.
The Brewers appear to have shortstop and second base set for the 2024 season, barring a trade of Wily Adames. Third base is wide ooen for Milwaukee, with Andruw Monasterio returning as the incumbent, but there is plenty of room to improve there.
Kiner-Falefa would likely be fill a utility role should he sign with Milwaukee. He is a right-handed bat, and could theoretially provide a platoon bat to be paired with Brice Turang. Kiner-Falefa has a career .673 OPS against left-handed pitching, though he recorded a slight reverse platoon in 2023, with a .634 OPS against LHP compared to a .648 against RHP. Brice Turang recorded a .465 OPS against LHP in his rookie season.
Ken Rosenthal reported the Marlins are also 'showing interest' among several other teams and IKF could land a multi-year deal given his age and versatility as well.
Adding Kiner-Falefa would make sense if the Brewers are interested in continuing their organizational philosophy of depth and versatility. Adding Kiner-Falefa to be the starting third baseman would be a little disappointing, but as a utility player who will appear all over the infield and on occasional in the outfield, it makes a lot of sesne.