The Yankees and the White Sox made a seven player trade on Tuesday night. RHP David Robertson, RHP Tommy Kahnle and 3B/1B Todd Frazier were traded to the Yankees for Blake Rutherford, Tito Polo, Tyler Clippard and Ian Clarkin.
The 27 year old Latham, NY native Tommy Kahnle may be the most important piece in the trade as a Yankees setup man. The Yankees bullpen has posted a 4.02 ERA since June 1st. and has blown 18 saves, the most in MLB. Most importantly, the Yankees are 9-18 in one run games in 2017 after a 2016 in which they won more than 60% of their games decided by one run.
Kahnle is also a former Yankees product, but his road to becoming a relief ace has been a long one. A fifth-round pick by New York in 2010, he was lost to the Rockies in the Rule 5 draft in 2013, spent two uneventful years as a league-average arm in Colorado’s bullpen, then was designated for assignment after the 2015 season and traded to the White Sox. His first season in Chicago placed him on the Triple A shuttle for the first half of the season due to his horrible control (20 walks in just 27 1/3 innings), but his power fastball (a staggering 97.9 mph average) made him an intriguing project.
He has a filthy 100 mph four-seam fastball that generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ similar pitches. It is thrown at a speed that’s been a big problem for hitters and has slightly less natural movement than typically thrown and has some added backspin. His changeup is thrown extremely hard in the low 90’s, generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ changeups, and results in many more ground balls with a slight armside fade. His slider is an extreme fly ball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sliders, has a short glove-side cut and is much harder than usual. [Brooks Baseball.com]
This season, Kahnle has become a crucial bullpen piece. With newfound control and a dramatic increase in his swinging-strike rate, Kahnle is punching out a ridiculous 15 batters per nine innings. He’s been absolute murder on right handers, holding them to a .165/.183/.316 line on the season. And best of all for the Yankees, the 27-year-old is under team control for another three seasons. Next year will be his first of arbitration eligibility.
Robertson is the bigger name, but Kahnle is arguably the better reliever. He’s a savvy addition by Cashman and the most likely to have a huge impact on the beleaguered Yankees bullpen.