Isiah Kiner-Falefa happy Rangers traded him to the Bronx: ‘I was really excited that they gave me the opportunity’

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			Isiah Kiner-Falefa happy Rangers traded him to the Bronx: ‘I was really excited that they gave me the opportunity’
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Isiah Kiner-Falefa is ready for this year to come full circle.

The Yankees shortstop began the year in Arlington, working out with plans to be the Rangers third baseman. He got traded to the Twins as soon as the lockout was over and figured since Minnesota came to play the Rangers a month into the season, he’d just grab some things from his home then. Seven months and a spring training trade to the Yankees later, Kiner-Falefa is finally going to be able to get back to his apartment and grab the things he left behind.

And he’s happy he will be packing for the playoffs — which would not be the case if his year had not begun with so many twists and turns.

“That’s where I spent the offseason so I have a lot of familiarity there. And it’ll just be a good bridge to the postseason for me,” Kiner-Falefa said. “It’ll be good to go back to that kind of finish that chapter. At the same time, I will probably feel good going back and then give me some confidence going into the postseason.”

Kiner-Falefa has had an up and down first year with the Yankees. He has made some spectacular defensive plays and booted some big plays.

“He’s better when he doesn’t have to think too much,” one scout said.

After a slow start, Kiner-Falefa has had an offensive season that is what could be expected. He is slashing .263/.315/.331 with four home runs, 20 doubles and 48 RBI.

The Rangers certainly treated him like he was disposable after they signed Corey Seager to play shortstop, Marcus Semien to play second base and they had a prospect coming up in the third base lane. Kiner-Falefa insists there isn’t any bitterness from his days with the Rangers, but it is clear he is glad not to be here any more.

“I was really excited that they gave me the opportunity,” Kiner-Falefa said. “They traded me. I could still be there on the losing team. So I’m actually really happy to get out of there, but in a good way. They gave me an opportunity. I felt like I put my best foot forward there and they kind of rewarded that instead of holding on to me. So I have no ill will.”

But Kiner-Falefa said he does hope the Yankees get their 100th win there and that it will be nice to return on a playoff-bound team.

It’s a different Rangers leadership than the one that let him go. Chris Woodward was fired as manager and long-time general manager Jon Daniels was also let go.

“It’s just gonna be a little different with JD and Woody but at the same time, I’m really happy for Tony Beasley,” Kiner-Falefa said of the interim manager. “He’s a great guy. He’s always a really, really good guy. And it was so weird because he always seemed like he was like, everyone’s kind of like dad. He’s like a father figure for a lot of the guys there. So now that he’s managing, I just want to see how he’s doing and see if he’s changed.”

For Kiner-Falefa it will be the first time he has talked to his former teammates and coaches since the Rangers were in New York early in May.

“I haven’t talked to anybody over there. Just because we’ve been so focused here on our own stuff and my own personal stuff, too,” Kiner-Falefa said. “So, yeah, it’s just it’d be nice to just go and see some of those guys… and nice to be going to the playoffs and they’re not so I mean.”

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