Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle elected free agency rather than accepting a minor-league assignment, the Yankees announced on Saturday.
The 31-year-old right-hander is expected to miss the majority of the 2021 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in August after appearing in just one regular season game this season. If and when he returns to the mound, he’ll do so as a member of a different team.
The Yankees acquired Kahnle prior to the 2017 trade deadline and was a dependable option out of the bullpen the remainder of the season. He struggled with both injuries and effectiveness in 2018, when he was limited to just 24 games in relief and walked 15 batters in 23 1/3 innings.
Kahnle recovered to make 72 appearances in 2019, pitching to a 3.67 ERA with 88 strikeouts over 61 1/3 innings and was expected to be a key contributor to the bullpen in 2020 before he was shut down in August.
Kahnle joins DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and Erik Kratz as 2020 Yankees now on the free-agent market.