The contract given to Tommy Kahnle about two years ago has largely been viewed as a mistake made by the Los Angeles Dodgers. If there’s one thing Andrew Friedman can’t do, it’s predict the future with injuries. So many of these deals haven’t worked out.
Kahnle was arguably the highest ceiling of the bunch, though, so his troubles have been the most disappointing. After being non-tendered by the New York Yankees following the 2020 season due to the fact he underwent Tommy John surgery in August of that year, Kahnle inked a two-year, $5.25 million contract, with LA looking to capitalize on the pact come 2022.
Unfortunately, the right-hander has only pitched four total innings for LA since joining the organization, and five total since the start of 2020. His knee-buckling changeup has hardly been put to use thanks to elbow trouble following a delayed return from the surgery.
After false hope took over the fan base at the end of April, it’s now back after Kahnle was activated from the 60-day injured list this week. First Blake Treinen, now this.
Sadly, the Dodgers would be insane to expect anything out of Kahnle between now and the end of the season. Even if the team wanted him to be part of the plan, there’s no way he’ll be more effective than someone who’s been pitching the last two years or even just this entire year.
Tommy Kahnle is back for the Dodgers … but what can he even do?
Kahnle is coming back after a four-month layoff, too! The Dodgers have done a tremendous job patching up the holes with Treinen, Kahnle, Daniel Hudson, Victor Gonzalez and Brusdar Graterol missing extended time, but you’d have to hope they’re not drawing up a postseason plan that includes Treinen and Kahnle featured heavily in crucial innings/situations.
The front office is smarter than that. Kahnle should provide nothing more than innings-eating duties for the final three weeks of the season as the Dodgers rest up their main guys who have taken on most of the burden since April.
Whoops, wait … it seems like manager Dave Roberts is expecting help from Kahnle in the postseason. Hope he’s got a backup plan!
Though Kahnle tossed a scoreless frame and struck out two against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, his situation feels like a ticking time bomb. He did the same thing for his season debut on May 1. After two scoreless innings on May 1 and 4, Kahnle got rocked against the Pirates on May 11 and then walked two batters in his next outing before hitting the IL and not coming back until this week.
The Dodgers’ pitching staff is battered enough. They can’t be formulating a plan to integrate another injured player into their critical postseason journey. Kahnle should be viewed as a bonus and nothing more, with ample support on deck from those who have been here for most of 2022.
But even then, are Dodgers fans going to trust Kahnle to come in to face the Mets/Braves/Cardinals with a narrow lead or in a tie game in the seventh? Not sure about that.