9:34am: The Red Sox are one of multiple teams in “advanced talks” with Kahnle, who is expected to make a final decision on where he’ll sign as soon as today, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports.
2:45am: The Red Sox are making a push to sign reliever Tommy Kahnle, and there’s a chance a deal comes together soon, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive. Cotillo does note that other teams remain in the mix for the former Dodgers reliever.
Kahnle, 33, pitched 12 2/3 innings for the Dodgers in 2022 to a 2.84 ERA, striking out 30.4% of batters and walking 6.5%. He did struggle a little bit with the long ball, but the small sample size makes it hard to read too much into that. It was Kahnle’s first season back from 2020 Tommy John surgery, but after making his Dodgers debut in May he went on the IL with right forearm inflammation and didn’t return until September.
Kahnle was drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, but the Rockies picked him in the 2013 Rule 5 draft. He wound up performing as a solid reliever for the Rockies, pitching to a 4.41 ERA in 102 innings over two seasons in Colorado before he was traded to the White Sox.
His career took off in Chicago as he blossomed into dominant relief arm. In parts of two seasons there, he pitched to a 2.56 ERA across 63 1/3 innings. 2017 was particularly dominant, as he struck out batters at a ridiculous 42.6% rate. That prompted the Yankees to acquire him with Todd Frazier and David Robertson at the 2017 deadline, and he became a valuable member of the Yankees’ bullpen, pitching to a 2.70 ERA down the stretch in New York.
He struggled mightily in 2018, dealing with shoulder tendinitis early in the season. While he return in late-May, a surge in walks saw him limp to a 6.56 ERA that year. He bounced back in 2019 though, tossing 61 1/3 innings of 3.67 ERA ball.
While there’s a history of injuries and some inconsistency there, there’s also no doubting the talent and late-inning stuff of Kahnle when fit and firing. As Alex Speier earlier noted, Kahnle has had many suitors this winter. The Red Sox, however, have been vocal about their interest in upgrading the roster, and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has spoken of looking to add as many as nine players this winter.
The bullpen has already been a focus for them, with the team inking Joely Rodriguez to a one-year, $2MM deal and Chris Martin to a two-year, $17.5MM pact. The possible addition of Kahnle would give them another strong option as Bloom looks to bolster the bullpen ahead of the 2023 season.