The Los Angeles Dodgers have several free agents on the open market, notably Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernandez, Justin Turner and Blake Treinen, but thus in the offseason have largely focused on the bullpen.
That isn’t much of a surprise of course, as Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified the bullpen and adding a right-handed hitting position player to the lineup as areas of focus.
The Dodgers’ group of relief pitchers has grown to include Corey Knebel, and the team is hoping to revitalize Brandon Morrow, who signed a Minor League contract. And in a move with an eye on 2022, the Dodgers and Tommy Kahnle agreed to a two-year contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
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
With Kahnle undergoing Tommy John surgery only two months ago, he is expected to miss the entire 2021 season while recovering. At the end of this past season he refused an outright assignment to the Minors in favor of becoming a free agent.
Prior to his injury, the 31-year-old was a key member of the New York Yankees bullpen over recent seasons. However, Kahnle only managed to make one appearance in 2020. He threw 20 pitches in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals on July 26, felt discomfort two days later during a throwing session and didn’t pitch again.
Last year Kahnle had a 3.67 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 61.1 innings pitched over 72 games. Kahnle made his MLB debut with the Colorado Rockies, where he spent two seasons before jumping to the American League with the Chicago White Sox.
Why did the Dodgers sign Kahnle?
With the right-hander unlikely to pitch until 2022, the reported signing of Kahnle gives the Dodgers some insurance for the future. Kenley Jansen is entering the final year of his contract and the team does not have a clear-cut replacement for the closer role.
Dependent on what transpires in free agency with Pedro Baez and Treinen, Kahnle could emerge as a key relief pitcher despite not profiling as an option to possibly fill a potential void at closer.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!