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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Ryan Tepera heads to White Sox from Cubs as Chicago rivals make deal

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to acquire veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera from the crosstown Cubs in exchange for lefty prospect Bailey Horn. Both teams announced the deal on Thursday, a day before the 2021 MLB trade deadline.

Tepera, 33, has pitched to a 2.91 ERA and a career-best 4.71 K/BB ratio in 43 1/3 innings for the Cubs this season. Across parts of seven major-league seasons, Tepera owns an ERA+ of 122 in 279 relief appearances and one start. He’s owed the balance of an $800,000 salary for 2021 and is eligible for free agency this coming offseason. On the South Side, Tepera figures to fortify a right-handed setup and middle relief corps that has some impressive arms but has been light on depth and consistency.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2021 at 04:35 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, ryan tepera, white sox

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   1. Voodoo Posted: July 29, 2021 at 05:22 PM (#6031293)
So far the Cubs seem to be targeting older, close-to-MLB-ready prospects, which makes sense.
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 29, 2021 at 05:43 PM (#6031307)
Ryan Tepera got an MVP vote last year.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2021 at 06:26 PM (#6031321)
#1: Huh? Horn is 23 but this is his first pro season and has 38 innings at A/A+ (and a 5.36 ERA). That's not particularly close to MLB-ready regardless of how old he is. Meanwhile, in the Darvish trade, the Cubs traded for 3 players with no pro experience yet, mostly 18 years old. In the Chafin trade they got a 26-yo AAAA OF type (not a prospect at all) and a 21-yo A-ball pitcher (with a 6.91 ERA) in his first pro year. Pederson was traded for a 22-yo A+ 1B (sub-700 OPS) who at least had previous pro experience in 2019.

None of these guys except the AAAA OF are close to being ready for the majors. The Darvish trade seemed a pretty clear signal the Cubs are looking long rebuild -- which might be necessary given they have very little in the high minors.

Anyway, Tepera has been a much better pitcher than I'd have thought. A 122 career ERA+, 4 WAR, 1.7 WAA, will be FA at the end of the year. Nothing to write home about but a solid reliever. Took him a long time to get to the majors, got released by the Jays halfway through (not clear it was deserved), will be 34 next year. We've had some discussion lately about teams picking up guys like the Yanks' #15 prospect in a trade ... Tepera's a pretty good outcome for a team's #15 prospect.

I actually found a couple of Jays' 2014 prospect lists (year before Tepera finally made it) and one went 20 deep and the other went 43 deep and neither listed Tepera. Looking at his minor-league record, that's not so surprising. He was atrocious as a starter. 2014 is the year they shifted him to the pen and he started to put up some good numbers. His K/9 went from under 7 in the lower minors to over 9 at AAA.
   4. Voodoo Posted: July 29, 2021 at 07:19 PM (#6031339)
Horn is described as fringe top 20 prospect in the Sox system and he's 23, so I assumed he's close-ish to being ready. If you aren't close to being ready at 23, of what use are you? The AAAA guy they got for Chafin is certainly close to the majors, but maybe not someone that will ever make an impact. I wasn't really considering the Darvish deal, but they got an MLB starter for him (in a half-hearted attempt to try to compete this year?) and a bunch of rando lottery tickets.

I will not be happy if the Cubs are planning for a "long rebuild" - not with the money coming off the books this year now that Rizzo has been dealt and Bryant will be right behind him.
   5. Brian C Posted: July 29, 2021 at 11:13 PM (#6031492)
If you aren't close to being ready at 23, of what use are you?

Well, if you've got the kind of stuff that makes scouts shrug and say "I guess it's technically possible that he might turn into something," then you're probably useful as a fringe prospect that gets traded for a middle reliever in a deadline deal.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2021 at 11:54 PM (#6031506)
Well Horn is a standard college pitcher draftee. Those guys don't get started until 22 or 23. If he had started at AA we might think he was close.

Being top 20 in a team's system is meaningless. Those guys aren't "major league ready" unless we mean "sometime over the next two years he has a decent shot at being on the AAA shuttle and eat up 20 innings of low-leverage relief." Of course maybe the Cubs see potential others don't, etc.

Nothing special about the year but in 2014, about 120 pitchers debuted (at least 10 career IP to screen out position players), so 4 per team. Of those, 10 have made it to 8 career WAR by 2021; 10 more have made it to 5 ... coincidentally, #20 is Chafin. Now maybe your #20 prospect becomes you #15 the next year, your #10, maybe up to #5 ... at which point, he's probably one of those 4 you call up but still on the fringe. Half of the guys who debuted in 2014 didn't even make it to 0.5 WAR.

Which isn't to say there's not hope. DeGrom and Hendricks lead the way and neither ever made the top 100. In fact one list I found had deGrom as the Mets' #15 prospect entering 2014. Mookie, who was the top position player debut of 2014, was rated #15 for the Red Sox in 2012 at fangraphs. So you pray one such kid you pick up turns into Betts/deGrom, you dream of Hendricks, you're happy with Chase Anderson, you're more than satisfied with Chafin and you're probably getting Buck Farmer (0.2 career WAR) or worse.

EDIT: Or, in other words, given his age, Horn quite possibly is about as good as he's ever gonna get ... but that probably isn't near ML ready.
   7. Brian C Posted: July 30, 2021 at 12:49 AM (#6031515)
Which isn't to say there's not hope. DeGrom and Hendricks lead the way and neither ever made the top 100. In fact one list I found had deGrom as the Mets' #15 prospect entering 2014. Mookie, who was the top position player debut of 2014, was rated #15 for the Red Sox in 2012 at fangraphs. So you pray one such kid you pick up turns into Betts/deGrom, you dream of Hendricks, you're happy with Chase Anderson, you're more than satisfied with Chafin and you're probably getting Buck Farmer (0.2 career WAR) or worse

In other words, they'll be lucky to get back as much value as ... 2 months of Ryan Tepera.

This is what I'm talking about in the other thread when I talk about trading guys just to trade them. The current value/future value equation is all effed up - we've gotten to the point where even when "future value" is approximately zero, there's still urgency in the conventional wisdom that your asset needs to be traded anyway. The result is a glut of options available and so no one is worth a damn in terms of trade value. But it's just a plain fact that Tepera has more future value as well as current value than Bailey Horn.

Anyway, using Hendricks isn't really fair here. He wasn't a top prospect, sure, because we all know there's a toolsy bias to prospect rankings. But he stood out as a minor leaguer - I remember we were all intrigued here when the Cubs acquired him. He's a poor example IMO of a lottery ticket; he was more of an unconventional prospect.

   8. Buck Coats Posted: July 30, 2021 at 12:29 PM (#6031599)
But it's just a plain fact that Tepera has more future value as well as current value than Bailey Horn.


Well maybe, but the Cubs didn't possess any of that future value, he's gonna be a FA.
   9. Voodoo Posted: July 30, 2021 at 02:24 PM (#6031645)
And now Kimbrel is heading across town, too. No word yet on the return.

EDIT: "The #Cubs will receive second baseman Nick Madrigal and pitcher Codi Heuer from the #WhiteSox for Craig Kimbrel."
   10. JJ1986 Posted: July 30, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6031648)
Madrigal seems like an enormous return for Kimbrel.
   11. Voodoo Posted: July 30, 2021 at 02:52 PM (#6031659)
And now Baez is heading to the Mets, per reports.
   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 30, 2021 at 02:56 PM (#6031660)
Wow, there's no way I'd have given up Madrigal for a couple of months of Kimbrel. The White Sox bullpen is already good.
   13. JJ1986 Posted: July 30, 2021 at 02:59 PM (#6031661)
Jon Heyman:
Mets get Trevor Willians and Trevor Willians in package @Feinsand and @martinonyc
   14. Rally Posted: July 30, 2021 at 03:02 PM (#6031662)
Baez and Lindor were picked back to back in the 2011 draft. That was a good one. Of the first 11 picks, 6 have to date put up 20+WAR:

Cole
Bauer
Rendon
Lindor
Baez
Springer

5 of the 6 have cashed in, I suppose Baez is next in line to do so. Sure, he still has no clue about the strike zone and even seems to have gone backward on that, but he's got power, magical defense, and spellbinding baserunning.
   15. Rally Posted: July 30, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6031664)
Mets get Trevor Willians and Trevor Willians in package @Feinsand and @martinonyc


Is that a case like the Wander Francos (you might have heard of one, but he's got 2 older brothers with the same name) or the Luis A. Basabes?
   16. Eddo Posted: July 30, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6031665)
Wow, there's no way I'd have given up Madrigal for a couple of months of Kimbrel. The White Sox bullpen is already good.

Kimbrel's contract goes through next year. As a Sox fan, I like Madrigal, but I think this is a pretty win-win trade.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2021 at 03:16 PM (#6031671)
Kimbrel's contract goes through next year. As a Sox fan, I like Madrigal, but I think this is a pretty win-win trade.

I hate giving up a good player for a RP. Even the best RPs don't pitch enough, and they're totally unstable. 2019-20 Kimbrel was below replacement level.

   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 30, 2021 at 03:25 PM (#6031675)
Didn't realize Kimbrel wasn't a free agent at the end of the year; thanks for the correction. I still wouldn't have made the trade, although that evens it up a bit.
   19. Voodoo Posted: July 30, 2021 at 03:29 PM (#6031676)
Pete Crow-Armstrong is the return to the Cubs from the Mets for Javy Baez.
   20. Voodoo Posted: July 30, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6031686)
And now the word is that Bryant is heading to San Francisco.

UPDATE: Bryant to #SFGiants for Bart and Wade Jr.
   21. Voodoo Posted: July 30, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6031687)
Evidently the above report was not true and the return is thus:

The #Cubs receive pitcher Caleb Killian and outfielder Alexander Camargo from #SFGiants in Bryant trade


Which is ... not nearly as good.
   22. JJ1986 Posted: July 30, 2021 at 04:59 PM (#6031707)
His name is Canario. Bob Nightengale probably shouldn't be working anymore.

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