The Texas Rangers traded infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, the team announced, in a deal that also sends catcher Mitch Garver to the Rangers and pitcher Ronny Henriquez to Minnesota.
Kiner-Falefa, 26, made his Rangers debut in 2018 and earned a Gold Glove Award in 2020 for his play at third base. In 2021, he moved to shortstop and finished the year with a .271 batting average and eight home runs.
Despite his strong defensive play, Kiner-Falefa emerged as a potential trade option for Texas after the team spent huge amounts to acquire Corey Seager and Marcus Semien in December. Still, Rangers manager Chris Woodward just told reporters Friday that the third baseman role was Kiner-Falefa’s to lose with the season just a few weeks away.
With Minnesota, Kiner-Falefa is likely to slot in at shortstop with three-time All-Star Josh Donaldson at third base. The Twins’ Jorge Polanco spent the 2021 season switching between shortstop and second base.
Garver, 31, earned a Silver Slugger Award when he hit 31 home runs for the Twins in 2019, but dealt with several injuries in his last two seasons with the team. In 2021, he dealt with shoulder, knee, and back issues, and underwent groin surgery in June.