Right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera has elected free agency, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. The Blue Jays designated Tepera on Monday, but because he has more than three years of service time, he was able to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency.
Tepera enjoyed a long run as a member of the Blue Jays, who chose him in the 19th round of the 2009 draft. He debuted in 2015 and was especially productive from 2016-17, a 142 1/3-inning stretch in which he logged a 3.60 ERA with 9.42 K/9 and 3.48 BB/9, before falling off this season.
Elbow troubles (including late-May surgery) limited Tepera to just 21 2/3 innings in 2019, during which he posted a 4.98 ERA/6.03 FIP with a paltry 5.82 K/9 against 3.32 BB/9. The 32-year-old saw his average fastball velocity drop from the 95 mph range to 93.7 in the process, while his swinging-strike rate fell from 14 percent in 2018 to 12.6 this season. Needless to say, this isn’t an ideal time to reach free agency for Tepera, who had been projected to earn $1.6MM in arbitration before Toronto cut him loose.