Why Tommy Kahnle turned down larger Red Sox offer to sign with Yankees

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Why Tommy Kahnle spurned larger offer from Red Sox to join Yankees originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It turns out the Boston Red Sox weren't "outbid" for Tommy Kahnle, after all.

That's the language MLB Network's Jon Heyman used last month while reporting that the New York Yankees had landed the veteran reliever on a two-year, $11.5 million contract despite interest from the rival Red Sox.

But in an interview with The Athletic's Chris Kirschner, Kahnle confirmed the Red Sox actually offered him more money in free agency.

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"At one point they did, yes. I was really close to going to Boston," Kahnle told Kirschner.

So, why not go to the highest bidder? The 33-year-old veteran, who was originally drafted by the Yankees and spent three-and-a-half seasons in New York from 2017 to 2020 before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, opted for the known entity.

"In the end, I made the choice of the familiarity of knowing all of the coaches and knowing what role I would have going into this situation," Kahnle said. "It just felt more comfortable to me because I have been playing Major League Baseball for 12 years now. I think seven or eight of those have been with the Yankees organization so I felt more comfortable going into a situation I know. It just felt right."

Kahnle also admitted it helped that the Yankees are legitimate World Series contenders, leaving unsaid the reality that Boston projects to finish in the American League East basement for the second consecutive season.

"One of my big goals in my career is to win a World Series and be a part of one," Kahnle said. "I left in a weird way and I want to come back and help this team and city get a World Series ring."

Kahnle joins a star-studded list of players the Red Sox had reported interest in this offseason but who decided to sign elsewhere. In the case of Kahnle and pitcher Zach Eflin, Boston actually made an offer that matched or topped its competitor, but still couldn't land its target.

That trend suggests the Red Sox are no longer a premier destination for free agents, and explains why they had to settle for aging veterans like Corey Kluber and Justin Turner and unproven commodities like Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida instead of acquiring top-tier talent.

The Red Sox can reverse that trend by getting back into title contention, but the outlook looks rather bleak in the short term.