2. Tommy Kahnle
Here’s another instance where the Dodgers tried to “get ahead.” Back in July of 2020, the New York Yankees lost a key bullpen piece in Tommy Kahnle after the right-hander suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John. He was non-tendered in the offseason and became a free agent.
In came the Dodgers, swooping in to sign Kahnle to a two-year contract and guarantee him $4.75 million in addition to possible incentives that December. OK … but why? Kahnle was, like Nelson, all but officially out for the entire 2021 season (he was) and he actually ended up not being ready until late April of 2022!
Like the Nelson situation, the Dodgers were essentially paying for Kahnle’s 2022 contributions, meaning they believed that $4.75 million cost would justify his production the year after. Not the worst gamble considering Kahnle’s track record … but did anyone really think he’d immediately return to form in 2022 after throwing just one inning between 2020 and 2021? He already had injury and consistency issues in previous years.
Nobody expected this, but Kahnle’s experienced elbow issues since coming back to action and may not be able to pitch again in 2022 after throwing just four innings. With the various bullpen problems the Dodgers have had in recent years, why were they searching for diamonds in the rough or praying for injury bounce-backs when they simply could’ve invested money in known commodities?