Blue Jays right-hander Ryan Tepera, on the injured list due to an elbow impingement, announced Wednesday that he underwent surgery to address the issue (Twitter link). The team hasn’t made a formal announcement of the procedure yet, nor has it provided a timetable for his return. However, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith points out that manager Charlie Montoyo listed Nathan Eovaldi’s four- to six-week timeline as a possible relevant comparison last week when discussing the possibility of Tepera undergoing surgery.
If that is indeed an accurate comparison, then it seems likely the Jays will be without Tepera for at least the next month. He hasn’t pitched well this season, though that’s not exactly a surprise given the recent revelation that he’s been pitching with an impingement and loose bodies in his right elbow. Through 11 innings, Tepera has a 6.55 ERA with nine strikeouts against six walks (two intentional) and four home runs allowed. His fastball, which averaged 95.1 mph from 2015-18, was sitting at 93.7 mph in 2019.
Prior to this year, though, Tepera was a solid late-inning arm for the Jays. From 2016-18, Tepera logged a 3.53 ERA and a 3.91 FIP with 9.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.95 HR/9 and a 44.7 percent ground-ball rate. Those numbers may not be overpowering, but Tepera found plenty of success in Toronto despite pitching in a hitter-friendly home park in a notoriously difficult offensive division.
Given that success, his modest $1.525MM salary in 2019 and the rebuilding state in which the Blue Jays find themselves, Tepera looked like an obvious summer trade candidate heading into the season. Now, he’ll possibly be sidelined into July, leaving him minimal time to demonstrate his health for scouts from rival clubs. Depending on exactly when he’s able to get back on a mound, it may simply be more likely that the Blue Jays hang onto him into the offseason. Tepera is controlled for two years beyond the current campaign, so there’s no great urgency to move him. And, if he shows well over the final few months of the season in his return from surgery, most interested parties would surely chalk up his early struggles to an aberration stemming from the since-corrected elbow troubles.