While the MLB free agency market has again been slow-moving this offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers have actually been among the more active teams.
Despite coming off their first World Series win since 1988, the Dodgers have some work to do to improve the roster in 2021 as a number of key players could be lost in free agency.
The main focus to this point has been the bullpen, with the organization making a number of low-risk, high-reward additions such as Corey Knebel and Brandon Morrow. They made another one of those signing on Wednesday when they reportedly inked former New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle to a two-year contract.
Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery this past August and will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2021 season before hopefully returning and pitching for the Dodgers in 2022. According to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, Kahnle chose to sign with the Dodgers over the Boston Red Sox:
Boston aggressively pursued reliever Tommy Kahnle and made a strong offer to him before he agreed to sign with the Dodgers on Wednesday, sources confirmed to MassLive. The Red Sox were considered the runner-up for Kahnle, who agreed to a two-year deal in the $4.75 million range with Los Angeles.
Considering how well the Dodgers have done reviving the careers of relievers in recent years, it seems like a smart move by Kahnle to sign with L.A. over other teams. Additionally, because he signed this offseason and didn’t wait a year, he will be able to rehab with the Dodgers’ medical and training staff that is known to be among the best in the league.
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.
With relievers like Knebel, Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly all coming off the books after the 2021 season, the hope is that Kahnle will be able to help fill the void of those potential losses when he is healthy in 2022.
Brewers executive believes Knebel will thrive with Dodgers
As previously mentioned, one of the Dodgers’ other bullpen additions this offseason was Knebel, who was acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Similar to Kahnle, Knebel is coming off recent Tommy John surgery, although he was able to pitch towards the end of 2020 and will be ready to go next season.
Knebel was one of the best relievers in all of baseball as recently as 2017, and one Brewers executive believes that he will thrive in the Dodgers organization. If that is the case then L.A.’s bullpen should again be one of the best in baseball in 2021.
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