February 1, 2023


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

New Dodger Tommy Kahnle may not be available until 2022

Bolstering the bullpen for the 2021 season is one of the top two items on the Dodgers’ checklist this offseason. On Wednesday, they looked ahead to 2022.

The Dodgers agreed to a two-year deal with reliever Tommy Kahnle, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, despite Kahnle probably not being available to pitch next season.

Kahnle, 31, underwent Tommy John surgery in early August after appearing in one game for the New York Yankees. Rehabilitation for the procedure usually takes over a year for pitchers.

Signing Kahnle is a low-risk, high-reward investment in a reliever who has been dominant at times in his career. The right-hander was one of the best bullpen arms in the majors in 2016 and 2017 when he logged a 2.60 earned-run average in 98 appearances for the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.

Kahnle then missed most of the 2018 season with shoulder tendinitis. He posted a 6.56 ERA and issued 5.8 walks per nine innings in 24 games for the Yankees. He rebounded in 2019 with a 3.67 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and a 4.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio in New York.

Kahnle is the second reliever the Dodgers have added on a major-league contract this offseason. The club acquired right-handed Corey Knebel, an All-Star closer in 2017, from the Milwaukee Brewers minutes before the non-tender deadline earlier this month. The team also recently signed right-handers Jimmy Nelson and Brandon Morrow to minor-league deals.

The Dodgers probably aren’t done addressing the relief corps. Last week, manager Dave Roberts said the team wanted to add another leverage reliever for next season. Kahnle may fit the description, but likely not until 2022.