If the Yankees want to sign a bullpen arm this offseason, they should consider a familiar face. Per The Post’s Jon Heyman, former fan favorite Tommy Kahnle is generating significant interest.
Tommy Kahnle has 10 plus teams expressing interest after strong September return with Dodgers (0.63 WHIP, 2.84 ERA). Ex Yankee also benefits from demand outstripping supply in relief market.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 27, 2022
A quick refresher: Kahnle came to the Yankees in a trade with the White Sox in 2017 and quickly became a bullpen staple. His high-90s fastball paired with a deadly changeup. He posted 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) as a Yankee before Tommy John surgery knocked him out of the shortened 2020 season. Even better, Kahnle was well-loved in the clubhouse thanks to his endless optimistic energy.
It’s been a long road back but Kahnle made the most of his month with the Dodgers in 2022. Kahnle’s fastball was still in the 92nd percentile and his average velocity sat at 95.7 mph.
Granted, bullpen help is probably the least of the Yankees’ worries this offseason. Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loaisiga, and the returning Michael King make for a strong back end. Wandy Peralta can also get outs in the later innings.
But there will be games when the Yankees need middle relievers too and not just high-leverage arms. Moreover, even the best bullpen arms need the occasional night off. Kahnle can perform in either of these roles.
The cherry on top? Kahnle owns a 3.02 ERA and 13.5 K/9 at Yankee Stadium in his career.
Unfortunately, the odds of Kahnle returning to the Yankees as a free agent are low. Ron Marinaccio is already the changeup specialist in an otherwise crowded bullpen. He’ll also earn far less than the millions Kahnle will demand.
Wherever Kahnle pitches next season, it’s probably not going to be in the Bronx. That ship has long sailed.
But even so, the fact remains that Kahnle was a popular Yankee in his prime and some fans would love to have him back. If the interest is mutual and the price is right, who’s to say a reunion isn’t possible?
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