JULY 11: The Twins have released Jepsen, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
JULY 3: The Twins have designated right-handed reliever Kevin Jepsen for assignment, reports LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). To replace Jepsen on its roster, the club has recalled outfielder Eddie Rosario from Triple-A Rochester, tweets Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
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Jepsen, whom the Twins acquired from the Rays for minor league righties Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia at last year’s trade deadline, is in the midst of his worst major league season. Aside from his 3.52 walk rate per nine innings, which matches his career total, most of the longtime Angel’s numbers have dropped off precipitously this year. It’s no surprise, then, that his stint filling in for injured closer Glen Perkins went poorly. Over 30 2/3 innings with the Twins this season, the 31-year-old Jepsen posted a 6.16 ERA, 6.46 K/9, 30.2 percent ground-ball rate and blew four of 11 save opportunities.
For his career, Jepsen has recorded a 3.83 ERA, 8.31 K/9 and 46.4 percent grounder rate in 381 major league frames. The fact that Jepsen is fresh off his best two-year stretch makes his decline this season more surprising, as he pitched to a 2.47 ERA and backed that with an 8.96 K/9, 3.34 BB/9 and 46.6 percent grounder mark from 2014-15.
Jepsen’s average fastball velocity has fallen since 2014, though it’s still at 94 mph. Given his velo and recent viability as a late-game option, Jepsen could catch on with another team for the stretch run. If he clears waivers and then signs elsewhere, the Twins will owe Jepsen the remaining portion of his $5,312,500 salary – which is $2.64MM, per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press – minus the prorated league-minimum amount he’d earn from his next club.