Last winter the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a two-year contract with Tommy Kahnle despite knowing he would be out for most, if not all, of the 2021 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
The signing was with their eyes toward the future as the now-32-year-old reliever has shown he can be one of the best set up men in MLB while healthy.
With Kahnle closing in on his return, he will likely help replace Corey Knebel — who agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies — and possibly Kenley Jansen, who reportedly is drawing interest from multiple teams.
For now, the right-hander is still continuing the rehab process from his August 2020 surgery but Kahnle and the team expect him to be back to pitching at the high level he was prior to the operation, he told Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“Everyone seems to think I’ll be right back to where I was before it,” Kahnle said. “The way medicine today is and everything, they get you basically back to where you were. So I’m not worried about the rehab and getting back to where I was before. So I believe, maybe, I’ll throw harder, if not the same.”
Prior to signing, Kahnle was also strongly pursued by the Boston Red Sox, who offered him a similar contract before he ultimately chose L.A.
The Dodgers have had a lot of success reviving the careers of pitchers in recent years, which likely played into his decision. Signing in 2021 instead of waiting until he was healthy also allowed Kahnle to rehab with the Dodgers’ medical and training staff.
Kahle only appeared in one game for the Yankees in 2020 but was one of their better relievers in 2019. In 72 appearances, he pitched to a 3.67 ERA, 3.33 FIP and 1.06 WHIP with 88 strikeouts and 20 walks in 61.1 innings.
Kahnle’s contract has incentives based on games pitched
Kahnle’s contract is worth $4.25 million but it also includes up to $750,000 in incentives for games pitched.
If he is able to replicate his 2019 season for the Dodgers in 2022, Kahnle would easily earn all $750,000 in incentives, which the organization would surely be happy to give him for that type of production.
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