The stove is beginning to heat up, as the Dodgers added to their 2022 bullpen today.
Tommy Kahnle has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers worth $4.75 million with incentives that could push it to $5.5 million. Kahnle will likely miss most, if not all of the 2021 season after a UCL injury in late July led to Tommy John surgery. Kahnle will be 32 when he throws a pitch for the Dodgers.
Kahnle was drafted by the Yankees but was stolen by the Rockies in the 2013 Rule 5 draft. After two rough years in Colorado, he was traded to the White Sox. He began the 2017 season with the White Sox and was dominant, leading to a July trade back to the Yankees. He remained dominant with the Yankees and finished 2017 with a 2.59 ERA/1.83 FIP in 62 2/3 innings. He was near the top of the league in xBA and xSLG in 2017, and had the eighth-best strikeout rate (35.5 percent) of all qualified relievers. Somehow that was still only the third-best strikeout rate among Yankee relievers, that bullpen was insane. Also somehow, Kenley Jansen had the second-best strikeout rate at 42.2 percent. Someone photoshop that Wolverine picture with 2017 Kenley pls.
Kahnle struggled in 2018 but bounced back nicely with another dominant 2019. He threw only one inning in 2020 before being shut down for the year.
Kahnle occasionally throws a slider and a curveball, but for the most part is a two-pitch pitcher. He threw, literally, 20 pitches in 2020 so it’s not really worth gathering data from that year. In 2019, Kahnle threw his changeup 52.4 percent of the time. Opponent hit only .130 against it with a .203 slugging percentage, and he got a whiff on nearly half of them (49.2 percent). He threw a fastball 43.7 percent of the time and didn’t have as much success with it, as opponents hit .287 with a .553 slugging against it. He averages around 97 MPH with his fastball, and his changeup generally sits in the 90 MPH range.
Kahnle is a rare pitcher that throws changeups to same-handed batters. He threw 523 changeups in 2019, 218 of which were thrown to right-handed batters.
Kahnle should provide the Dodgers with another proven, talented arm when he does return. Off the field, Kahnle seems to be an enjoyable personality.
Some pictures to be used on Dodgers Digest dot com.
Yankee fans online (not Lindsey Adler) appear to be bummed out about this move, so it’s already a win. Kahnle might also add some ping pong WAR to an already stacked Dodger squad.
This definitely seems like a low-risk, high upside play for the Dodgers. A team can never have enough bullpen arms, Kahnle gives the Dodgers another one assuming he comes back healthy. If it doesn’t work out, a $4 million contract won’t hurt at all. Worst case, we all get to get some Kahnle/Kenley jokes off. These are exactly the type of deals smart, rich teams should be making.