Who should replace Tommy Kahnle in the Yankees bullpen?
When the Yankees revealed that Tommy Kahnle hadn’t pitched since Sunday due to forearm soreness, fans really had no choice to but expect the worst.
Unfortunately for them, it didn’t take long for their fears to be realized as manager Aaron Boone announced on Friday that the 30-year-old reliever will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, which will likely sideline him for a year.
New York certainly has the bullpen depth to overcome a loss of this magnitude as closer Aroldis Chapman has reported back to the team following a lengthy bout with the coronavirus. Furthermore, the club recalled starter Jordan Montgomery from its alternate training site to fill Kahnle’s roster spot. That could push somebody like JA Happ to the bullpen.
Nevertheless, the Yankees are going to have to find a replacement for the stud right-hander.
Whether they dip into their farm system or the free agent market remains to be seen, so let’s highlight some potential names we could see them target.
3. Aaron Sanchez (FA)
The former Astro and Blue Jay can really help the Yankees if he’s healthy.
Before Yankees fans search Aaron Sanchez’s name on Baseball Reference and gasp at his statistics through the years, hear us out. As far as raw ability is concerned, the 28-year-old right-hander is undoubtedly the filthiest reliever available.
In many ways, Sanchez and his devastating off-speed stuff are the perfect replacement for Kahnle, who flaunts one of MLB’s most lethal changeups.
For as erratic as the former All-Star has been in recent seasons, his 3.98 career ERA proves that his inconsistency is overblown. After all, he’s just a few seasons removed from finishing 15-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.
He might not be a strikeout pitcher, but it’s not like the Yankees will ask him to be the anchor of their bullpen, either. Therefore, we see nothing wrong with New York making a move for the seven-year veteran.