The deal is unusual in the sense that Kahnle will not pitch during the upcoming 2021 campaign after having undergone Tommy John surgery this past season.
The Kahnle contract adds to a plethora of offseason signings that feature several low-risk, high-reward types of players. The list includes former All-Star closer Corey Knebel and James Pazos, in addition to former Dodgers Brandon Morrow and Jimmy Nelson.
Last season, Kahnle pitched just one inning before being sidelined with the injury that led to his surgery.
In 2019, he made 72 relief appearances for the Yankees, tallying a 3.67 ERA, a 3.33 FIP, and a 1.060 WHIP alongside 88 punchouts and 20 walks over 61-1/3 innings of work.
His banner year came in 2017 when he threw for both the White Sox and Yankees, producing a career-best 2.59 ERA and a 1.83 FIP with 96 strikeouts in 62-2/3 innings. His 13.8 K/9 in 2017 was also a career high.
Lifetime, Kahnle has made 285 major league appearances over seven seasons with a 3.82 ERA, a 3.47 FIP, a 1.286 WHIP and a 11.8 K/9.
He was originally selected by the Yankees in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, but he was lost to the Rockies in the 2013 Rule 5 draft. He made his debut for Colorado in April of 2014.
According to Steve Adams at MLBTR, “the hard-throwing Kahnle averaged 96.8 MPH on his fastball before his surgery, which has helped contribute to an excellent 15.9 percent swinging-strike rate and a 32.8 percent opponents’ chase rate on pitches outside the strike zone.”
Brooks Baseball shows Kahnle featuring a fourseam, a changeup and a slider. During his one appearance last year, his fastball averaged 97.3 MPH.
As stated by Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Kahnle will hopefully be ready to join the Dodgers’ bullpen at the beginning of 2022, the season after the current contracts of veterans Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen both expire.