Yankees sign reliever Tommy Kahnle, who was coveted by Red Sox
SAN DIEGO – Making improvements to the New York Yankees’ bullpen was one of owner Hal Steinbrenner’s stated goals.
On Tuesday, the Yanks upgraded that department with an old friend.
Free agent Tommy Kahnle has agreed on a two-year, $11.5 million deal to return to the Yankees, as first reported by the New York Post.
With that agreement, the Yanks have also taken a reliever coveted by the rival Boston Red Sox, who were reportedly closing in on the right-hander.
Aaron Judge:He may be arriving at Winter Meetings in San Diego. Why didn't Yankees know this?
Clay Holmes is still viewed as the Yanks' closer entering 2023, and Kahnle returns as a potential key setup man, along with Jonathan Loaisiga and Michael King.
After fracturing his elbow last season, King has resumed a throwing program, but he's at least questionable to start the season on time according to manager Aaron Boone.
King's fracture, suffered in a game on July 22, took longer to heal than expected.
"(We're) encouraged by how he’s feeling, how he's responding,'' said Boone, adding "it's possible'' that King could be ready by Opening Day. But the club doesn't want to rush him, either, given his importance to the bullpen.
Boone added that Toms River right-hander Ron Marinaccio - an effective bullpen weapon during his rookie season - was "close to fully healed'' after being left off the postseason roster due to a shin bone injury.
Kahnle, 33, pitched to a 4.01 ERA in parts of four seasons with the Yankees from 2017-2020, and this is technically his third tour with the organization that drafted him (and lost him to the Colorado Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft).
At the 2017 trade deadline, the Yankees acquired Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox in a deal that also netted Todd Frazier and David Robertson.
After rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, costing him virtually the entire 2020 and 2021 seasons, Kahnle signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched to a 2.84 ERA in 13 games in 2022, with 14 strikeouts and three walks over 12.2 innings.