When the Dodgers signed Tommy Kahnle to a two-year deal after the 2020 season, they knew what they were paying for. The understanding was that he was coming off of Tommy John surgery that summer and that he would likely not be available in any capacity until the 2022 season.
But Dodgers fans have yet to see Kahnle during Spring Training this year. That has been a bit of a concern since he is such a big part of Dave Roberts’ bullpen plans right now. When he is ready, he will likely slot in as a high-leverage guy taking down the 8th inning.
But we now know that Kahnle will not be ready to go for the Dodgers by Opening Day. The OC Register’s Bill Plunkett spoke with him at camp this week, and he said that he plans to use the month of April as an extended camp.
“Kahnle acknowledged that he won’t be ready to open the season in the Dodgers’ bullpen and instead will spend April going through the equivalent of ‘a full spring training,’ most likely pitching for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City.”
But whenever the Dodgers do get Kahnle back into the mix of things, he will be huge for them. In 2019, Kahnle was striking out almost 13 batters per 9 innings pitched, and that strikeout percentage was one of the tops in the league that year.
Kahnle threw just 20 pitches in 2020 before needing to undergo surgery, striking out 3 of the 5 batters that he faced in a lone inning. The Dodgers paid him out just over $5 million for two years, which really comes down to a goal of retaining him for the 2022 season.
But when he’s ready, Kahnle will be a force out of the pen.