We mean this in the best possible way, because Kiner-Falefa is willing to do anything to win. Anything. Even moving off his position of starting shortstop, one he has well-earned this season.
According to SI’s Chris Halicke, the 26-year-old infielder just wants a taste of success.
"“I want to win,” Kiner-Falefa said on Monday. “If it is an outfielder, then that’s what I’d be all into. If there are shortstops that are out there, I want to put on such a good show that they want to play with me. You need to have something enticing, and I think I’m that piece that other guys look and say, ‘I can play with that guy.’ If they want to do that, and they want to be here, then we can work something out.”"
The Texas Rangers have a true winner on their roster in Isiah Kiner-Falefa
You can’t read this quote and not love IKF even more than many Texas Rangers fans already do.
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One of the primary concerns about the Rangers’ alleged interest in pursuing a brand-name shortstop this off-season would be how Kiner-Falefa would fit into the team’s future plans since he’s fared exceptionally well at shortstop (he leads the league in defensive WAR and Defensive Runs Saved) this season. He’s only locked down his position, if anything.
Well, have those concerns no more, because the Hawaiian Hustle is truly the definition of a teammate and a winner, even invoking the word “sacrifice” to make those winning dreams a reality.
"“I mean, I want to play every day, I want to be a part of the next World Series here. If I have to move, then I have to move. But shortstop is a defense-first position and I don’t think anybody’s better than me. So at the end of the day, what’s best for the team? If I have to make a sacrifice, someone else is going to have to make a sacrifice. But to win, sacrifices need to be made. So if that’s the case, I’m willing to do whatever it takes. And I’m sure they’ll be willing to accommodate me as well.”"
IKF is the kind of player every team should want on their roster, one with the famous Derek Jeter mentality of win at all costs.
It just so happens Kiner-Falefa happens to view Jeter as a role model and an idol, so the comparison looks even better from that vantage point.
There’s even shades of former Rangers’ great Michael Young in Kiner-Falefa, from the right-handed bat to the Gold Glove defense and the versatility but perhaps most important of all: the hustle and determination to win.
All of these elements comprise a great player with a winning mindset. The Texas Rangers have that in Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and should grasp onto him as tightly as possible.