The Cubs have struck a deal with reliever Ryan Tepera, as first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). It comes with a 40-man roster spot, though Tepera will play on a split arrangement. He’ll earn at a $900K rate in the majors and $300K in the minors.
Tepera, 32, was an effective inning for a nice stretch for the Blue Jays. But he ran into trouble in 2019, when he managed only 21 2/3 innings of 4.98 ERA ball. Long capable of striking out about a batter per inning, Tepera managed a meager 5.8 K/9 in the just-completed campaign. And he succumbed to the long ball malaise that afflicted so many other pitchers, coughing up five in 21 2/3 innings.
It’s a nice opportunity for the Cubs to seek value, though whether Tepera can bounce back may depend upon the question whether he can move past the elbow issues that plagued him in 2019. Tepera lost around 1.5 mph in average fastball velocity as compared to his ’18 numbers, with opposing hitters making contact on pitches in the zone at a 91.1% rate despite typically sitting in the low-eighties. More promisingly, Tepera was still able to generate a 12.6% swinging-strike rate and induce batters to chase on 37.3% of his pitches out of the zone.