Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle hits free-agent market

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Right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle is free to talk to all clubs, after he opted for free agency over an outright assignment by the Yankees on Saturday.

What kind of interest the 31-year-old draws remains to be seen, since he isn’t expected to pitch in the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the first week of August.

Clearly, the team that signs Kahnle is looking toward 2022, by which time Kahnle will have worked one inning in the previous two years.

Kahnle delivered a solid 2019 season, in which he appeared in a career-high 72 games, threw 61 ¹/₃ innings, allowed 45 hits, struck out 88, issued 20 walks and posted a 3.67 ERA. He followed that by appearing in eight postseason games, in which he posted a 2.25 ERA.

Armed with a mid-90s fastball and a change-up that is effective enough to handle left-handed hitters, Kahnle was looked upon as an important part of what was expected to be a dominant Yankees bullpen this past season.

Tommy Kahnle
Tommy KahnleN.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Instead, Kahnle’s season consisted of one inning in the third game of the season, July 26 at Washington. Asked to protect a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, Kahnle had to work around a bases-loaded situation sparked by a one-out throwing error by shortstop Gleyber Torres. After the error, Adam Eaton doubled before Kahnle struck out Starlin Castro and intentionally walked Howie Kendrick to load the bases. Kahnle stranded three by striking out the left-handed hitting Eric Thames with a change-up.

Acquired from the White Sox with Todd Frazier and David Robertson in July 2017, Kahnle spent parts of four seasons with the Yankees, who had drafted him the fifth round in 2010 out of Lynn University. In 129 games for the Yankees, Kahnle was 6-3 with a 4.01 ERA. For his career, Kahnle is 9-9 with a 3.82 ERA pitching for the Rockies, White Sox and Yankees.

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