It’s been quite an unusual season for Tepera, who began the year with the Angels. He had parlayed his track record as an effective reliever into a two-year, $14MM deal with the Halos going into 2022. Last year was par for the course for him, as he posted a 3.61 earned run average in 59 appearances.
This year, however, he struggled through his first 10 outings, with a 7.27 ERA in those. He was released by the Angels and signed a minor league deal with the Rangers. He pitched eight scoreless Triple-A innings while striking out 37.9% of opponents, triggered an opt-out and then quickly landed a major league deal with the Cards. He tossed two innings for St. Louis, allowing two earned runs before getting bumped off the roster.
Since Tepera was released by the Angels, the Cardinals were only paying him the prorated league minimum, with the Halos on the hook for the remainder of his salary. The Cards will now have a week to trade him or pass him through waivers, though he has more than enough service time to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency. He’ll likely wind up back on the open market, where another club can give him a shot for essentially no financial risk. With several relief pitchers likely to be traded between now and the deadline, some job opportunities might be opening up.
As for O’Neill, he’s been on the injured list since early May due to a lower back strain. He was in top form in 2021, hitting 34 home runs and stealing 15 bases while playing excellent defense, but has struggled since then. Going back to the start of 2022, he’s hit .228/.303/.380 for a wRC+ of 95. He’s played just 125 games while making trips to the IL due to a right shoulder impingement, a couple of left hamstring strains and this year’s back issues.
Despite those recent struggles, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak recently indicated the club plans on having O’Neill serve as the club’s everyday left fielder now that he’s back. With Lars Nootbaar, Jordan Walker, Tommy Edman, Alec Burleson and others in a crowded outfield mix, that’s led to speculation that Dylan Carlson could wind up traded in the coming days, something that MLBTR covered earlier today.