When free agency officially opened up for the New York Yankees and the rest of baseball, allocating resources toward the bullpen was in mind for management. Having lost Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman, and Miguel Castro this off-season, supplementing their loss with another arm was always in the cards.
However, with Scott Effross sustaining an elbow injury that will force him to miss the majority of the 2023 season, if not all of it, the Yankees may need even more support than previously thought.
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The Yankees sign Tommy Kahnle to a new deal:
The team’s top acquisition this off-season in the bullpen was Tommy Kahnle, who spent last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has pitched less than 14 innings in his last three seasons combined. The Bombers inked Kahnle on a two-year, $11.5 million deal, electing to rejoin his former team and spent his days pitching in the Bronx, despite having a bigger deal on the table.
“Tommy Kahnle nearly signed with the Boston Red Sox this offseason,” Kirschner said. “Boston offered Kahnle the biggest contract in free agency, but the middle reliever chose a two-year, $11.5 million offer to rejoin New York after spending four seasons with the Yankees from 2017-2020.”According to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.
Kahnle hasn’t pitched much over the past three seasons but did toss 12.2 innings at the end of the year for the Dodgers, recording a 2.84 ERA, 9.95 strikeouts per nine, and 85.4% left on base rate and hit 95.6 mph on average with his fastball. Kahnle would like to get back in the 97 mph range, which can be done, having closed the 2022 season and worked this off-season to improve his stuff and continue his recovery.
Nonetheless, considering Chapman and Britton were essentially obsolete last season, Kahnle should be able to provide some value, despite having some issues in the home run department. The last time he pitched for the Yankees in a significant manner was back in 2019, when he recorded 61.1 innings. He earned a 3.67 ERA, 12.91 strikeouts per nine, and a 50.4% ground ball rate.
However, Kahnle did allow a 23.1% HR/FB ratio with 1.32 home runs per nine allowed. He does have great strikeout metrics, but considering Kahnle hasn’t enjoyed a significant workload in years, we shouldn’t have elevated expectations. It is always nice to see players taking less to show loyalty and enjoy a bigger opportunity, which the Yankees should be able to provide.