Kahnle, Dodgers agree to two-year deal

December 29th, 2020

The Dodgers agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent reliever on Tuesday in a move that should bolster Los Angeles’ bullpen in 2022.

Kahnle's contract will pay him $750,000 in 2021, $3.45 million in 2022, plus a $550,000 signing bonus, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. It also includes $750,000 in potential performance bonuses in 2022. The club has not confirmed the financial terms of the deal.

Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in August while with the Yankees. That ended his 2020 season and figures to keep him out for most, if not all, of ‘21.

But while Kahnle might not be able to help the Dodgers next season, he could have a major impact down the line, assuming he is able to rehab successfully. The 31-year-old has been a highly effective reliever in the past, including in 2019, when he pitched in 72 games for the Yankees and struck out 88 batters in 61 1/3 innings, with a 3.67 ERA. Although Kahnle struggled in 2018, he posted a combined 2.60 ERA in 2016-17.

Unlike some right-handers, Kahnle has no trouble facing left-handed batters, with virtually no platoon split over the course of his seven-year career. That’s in large part to his best pitch being a dominant changeup. In 2019, Kahnle threw it a career-high 52 percent of the time, with batters missing on nearly half of their swings against it, while batting .130. Kahnle’s 67 strikeouts on changeups that year led all MLB relievers by a wide margin.