The New York Yankees are bringing back righty reliever Tommy Kahnle on a two-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Free-agent reliever Tommy Kahnle heading back to Yankees on two-year deal, source tells @TheAthletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2022
ESPN’s Jeff Passan added the deal is for $11.5 million.
This is a great move for the Yankees, as we’ve recently suggested.
Kahnle was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and other injuries for most of last year and played in just 13 games for the Dodgers. However, he posted a 2.84 ERA and struck out 14 in 12.2 innings while keeping his walks down.
Kahnle also spent three-and-a-half seasons with the Yankees before injuring his elbow in 2020. In a way, he signed with Los Angeles in 2021 to rehab, and now comes back to his home team. Remember, Kahnle grew up in the Albany area.
The Yankees are getting back a pitcher who, despite his injury, appears back in top form. Tommy Kahnle averaged 95.7 mph on his fastball last year, enough to put his velocity in the 92nd percentile. Fans will also remember his nasty changeup that dominated lefties.
So how will Kahnle factor into manager Aaron Boone’s rotation? It’s honestly hard to say. He gives them another changeup specialist alongside Ron Marinaccio and the crafty Wandy Peralta. Michael King and Jonathan Loaisiga also seem to have the setup roles locked down. Then again, with so many options, Boone can afford to get creative and mix and match so high-leverage arms get rested and don’t tire out early like last year.
More importantly, Tommy Kahnle returning to the Yankees means positive energy in the locker room. Kahnle’s goofy antics made him a fan favorite during his first run in The Bronx. If (baseball gods forbid) Aaron Judge leaves in free agency, having him to lighten the mood in the room could keep everyone motivated.
Above all else, the Yankees added veteran depth to an otherwise young bullpen. If Tommy Kahnle can stay healthy and have his pitches working, it’s a good deal.