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2019 1B Dilemma: Bird, Voit, or someone else?

The Yankees have failed to solidify the first base position ever since Mark Teixeira retired after the 2016 season. Over the last three seasons, New York has gotten nowhere near the production the 2015 All-Star Teixeira gave them. That year, he slashed .255/.357/.548 with 22 doubles, 31 home runs, and 79 RBI before his season was cut short to a broken leg.
Many believed 2011 fifth-round pick Greg Bird was the solution at first base as he tore up the minors in 2013-2015, leading to a mid-August call up to the bigs in 2015. Bird started 44 games in August and September amid some Teixeira injuries, and he hit .261 with 11 homers and 30 RBI.

Is it time to give up on Tommy Kahnle?

The Yankees have a decision to make regarding Tommy Kahnle. The 29-year-old right-hander is up for salary arbitration and had the worst year of his career last season. Kahnle battled injuries all year and posted an ugly 6.36 ERA in 23.1 innings over 24 appearances. He didn’t crack the playoff roster for either the Wild Card or Divison Series, either. Last year he made $1.3 million on a one-year deal, so it’s possible the Yankees see last year as a fluke and decide to sign Kahnle to another one-year contract, which is projected to be around $1.5 million. On the other hand, that’s a lot of money for a guy that was inconsistent and missed a lot of time last year. So, what should the Yankees do? 

New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle (48) pitches during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. (Bob DeChiara | USA Today Sports)

         Photo credit: Bob DeChara/USA TODAY Sports


The Yankees are in a position to either non-tender Kahnle or sign him, but I’m leaning towards the latter. He struggled with injuries and still put up some decent numbers that point to the fact that he can still perform. His average velocity on his fastball was above 95 MPH, and he still averaged 11.6 SO/9. It’s not like he was missing the strike zone, either. Kahnle threw over 60% of his pitches for strikes last year, and his BABIP against was .339, which is a lot of bad luck. Presuming that a lot of upheaval will come to the starting rotation, it's important to have some familiarity and stability in the bullpen. With a full off-season to recover, I’d say give Kahnle another season to see what he’s got. I think last year was somewhat of an outlier in terms of how many runs and home runs he gave up, (1.2/9 innings), and I think Tommy Kahnle will be back to normal and contributing in 2019.

Article by: Gus Wetekamp

Comments

  1. Yankee fans don't care about the cost of a player especially one who is a 1 or 2 million a year guy.

    My Legends Tickets are $895 a piece.

    The Yankees should sign Khanle & continue to build his arm strength and see if his velocity returns. I thought this year he actually looked better as the season went along.

    It's called a measure of insurance. Khanle is a season removed from being a trustable and productive relief pitcher. He''s young. There's plenty of time for him to get back into the groove. It's not like he's a 41 year old retread.

    Sign 'em!

    ReplyDelete

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