Blue Jays make second signing in as many days, bring aboard ex-Yankees utilityman

Aug 5, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees left fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa (12) attempts a
Aug 5, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa (12) attempts a / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After missing out on some of the top-available talent earlier in the offseason, Ross Atkins and the Toronto Blue Jays are making up for lost time. On Tuesday, the club re-signed center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year, $10.5M contract after he excelled last year.

On Wednesday, FanSided's own Robert Murray broke the news on X that the Blue Jays have signed utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa to a two-year, $15M contract. His deal also includes $1M in incenvties.

Kiner-Falefa, or "IKF", is a six-year veteran who spent the first four years of his big league career on the Texas Rangers. For the past two seasons, he's been a member of the Blue Jays' division rival Yankees.

Last year, the 28-year-old played 113 games, hitting six home runs with 37 RBI and an OPS+ of just 78. This puts him a rather concerning 22 percent below league-average at the plate. In his career, the highest OPS+ he's ever had in a (full) season is 85. Clearly, this is a signing that is more about what he brings on defense than his offensive prowess.

If a glove is what the Blue Jays are looking for here, they've certainly found a good one. IKF, a former Gold Glove winner (2020 as the Rangers' third baseman), made at least one defensive appearance at six positions last season; including second, third, shortstop, and all three outfield spots. He's even a converted catcher, so he's got some ridiculous versatility. However, don't expect him to get any reps behind the plate, similar to Daulton Varsho's situation.

In 2023, IKF finished in the 78th percentile in OAA and 75th in Arm Value. His arm strength is decent but not great, but he's a solid utility-type of player who can bounce around all over the diamond.

Moving forward, the fit for IKF is a rather curious one, especially if he's going to be handed a starting gig at either second base or third base. The Blue Jays' decision to make him a starter instead of signing someone with more of an established bat (like Matt Chapman or someone on the trade market) would be a head-scratcher for sure.

It remains to be seen who is going to play where, but this move could mean a trade - or two - is coming. Infield depth has long been a strong suit of the Blue Jays, but now there's just too many players and not enough places for them to play. As things currently stand, infield options on the 40-man include Cavan Biggio, Ernie Clement, Spencer Horwitz, Otto Lopez, Orelvis Martinez, Davis Schneider, Addison Barger, Santiago Espinal and Leo Jimenez. Something's got to give.