On Tuesday, we got the news that the Yankees were set to sign reliever Tommy Kahnle to a two-year contract. It will not be Kahnle’s first time in the Bronx, as he previously played for the Yankees from 2017-20. Beyond that, the Yankees drafted him back in 2010, and he spent four seasons in the organization before the Rockies poached him in the 2014 Rule 5 draft.
The Yankees reuniting with Kanhle for another go-round got us thinking about other notable Yankees who had more than one distinct stint with the franchise.
First Stint: 1978-83, 518.2 innings, 2.10 ERA, 15.1 fWAR
Second Stint: 1989, 14.1 innings, 3.77 ERA, 0.2 fWAR
The closer for the Yankees 1978 championship team, Gossage had grown tired of George Steinbrenner’s whole deal and left in free agency for the Padres in 1984. After helping them to a World Series, Gossage was traded to the Cubs, and would later sign with the Giants. With San Francisco, he struggled in 1989, leading to him being placed on waivers.
The Yankees put in a claim, and Gossage would spend the final couple weeks of the ‘89 season back in pinstripes. He put in just above average numbers before departing and playing the next season in Japan.
First Stint: 1996-2001, 923 games, .279/.348/.488, 15.7 fWAR
Second Stint: 2005, 131 games, .241/.328/.439, 0.2 fWAR
Tasked with having to replace Yankee legend Don Mattingly, Martinez held his own, and helped the Yankees to four World Series titles from 1996-2000. However, his last couple seasons weren’t as impressive, and the Yankees took the opportunity to bring in Jason Giambi starting in the 2002 season, and let Martinez go.
Giambi would really struggle in 2004, to the point where he was entirely left off the postseason roster after OPS’ing .328 over the second half while dealing with health issues. For 2005, as an insurance policy, the Yankees signed Martinez, who had spent his time away from the Bronx putting up okay seasons with the Cardinals and Rays. The two would split duty at first base, with Giambi returning to form, and Martinez making a respectable go of it in what would be his final season.
First Stint: 1965-1974, 958 games, .282/.354/.459, 25.8 fWAR
Second Stint: 1979-83, 298 games, .260/.327/.429, 1.1 fWAR
Murcer was a bright spot for the mid ‘60s and early ‘70s Yankees, who were mired in and then emerged from the CBS ownership. In 1974, he had a down season, almost certainly partially due to the Yankees playing their home games at Shea Stadium instead of the friendly confines of “The House that Ruth Built,” which was being renovated. The Yankees then decided to trade him to the Giants for Bobby Bonds after the season,
Five years later, after Murcer had missed out on being a part of the 1977 and ‘78 championships, the Yankees reacquired him from the Cubs, as they looked to get back into the AL East race after a slow start to ‘79. Murcer’s second stint produced arguably his most famous moment, when he drove in all five runs, including two on a walk-off single in a 5-4 win on August 6th. That famously was the same day as Yankees’ captain Thurman Munson’s funeral, at which Murcer gave a eulogy.
Murcer would get to play in the playoffs and World Series for the first time after retuning for the Yankees, but he unfortunately wouldn’t get a ring to go with his excellent career.
First Stint: 1995-2003, 1792.2 innings, 3.94 ERA, 39.5 fWAR
Second Stint: 2007-10, 2012-13, 1003.2 innings, 3.93 ERA, 17.2 fWAR
You could almost split Pettitte into three separate Yankee stints, as he did briefly retire in 2011 before coming back for two more seasons in 2012 and ‘13.
As far as annoying choices go, the Yankees letting Pettitte go in between his two runs in the Bronx is probably the most frustrating on this list. It’s not as if the Yankees didn’t give out any big contracts in the offseason between the 2003 and ‘04 seasons, it’s just that they didn’t really focus on Pettitte, giving him the feeling that he was unwanted. He would get an offer from the Astros and spent the next couple years there. As it turns out, the Yankees might’ve needed a pitcher in the 2004 postseason that allegedly happened.
The team finally righted that wrong for 2007, and Pettitte went on to have several more productive seasons in New York, becoming part of the “Core Four” and helping the Bombers to the 2009 World Series.
First Stint: 2008-14, 393.1 innings, 2.81 ERA, 8.3 fWAR
Second Stint: 2017-18, 104.2 innings, 2.49 ERA, 2.5 fWAR
“Houdini” was a member of the 2009 championship team, but really came into his own around 2011, when he made his first (and so far only) All-Star appearance. He was a key piece of the bullpen in that time and took over as Yankees’ closer in 2014 after the retirement of Mariano Rivera. After that season, he signed with the White Sox as the Yankees brought in Andrew Miller to address their bullpen needs.
A couple years later, in the midst of a playoff race, the Yankees reacquired him, along with Todd Frazier, and now fellow two-time Bomber Kahnle, in a trade with Chicago as they attempted to fill a couple needs. He went on to provide another season and a half of good relief pitching before the Yankees again opted to let him walk away in free agency. Robertson hit the market again this offseason, giving the Bombers a chance to make it three times for D-Rob, but the reliever signed with the Mets earlier this week.