The New York Yankees are extremely thin in the bullpen, so when Tommy Kahnle suggested that he would hit free agency instead of staying on a minor league contract with the Bombers, it was a big surprise. Kahnle has elected to test free agency and subsequently signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Free-agent reliever Tommy Kahnle in agreement with Dodgers on two-year contract, source tells The Athletic. Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery in August.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 23, 2020
Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery this past year, so he will be rehabilitating well into the 2021 season. He was phenomenal for the Yankees in 2019, earning a 3.67 ERA with a 50.4% ground ball rate and 12.91 strikeouts per nine. Before that, he had a tumultuous 2018 season but two consecutive impressive campaigns in 2016 and 2017.
Ultimately, the Yankees are still in need of support in the bullpen, especially with a few tough performances from players like Chad Green and Adam Ottavino during the 2020 season.
Losing Tommy stings for Yankee fans, as the energy he brought was contagious, and he will be missed in pinstripes. However, he was not going to be an impactful player for the 2021 season, so allowing him to heal and earn an opportunity with the Dodgers was in his best interest.