Bringing back Ryan Tepera would be a smart move for the Chicago White Sox.
After signing Kendall Graveman to a three-year $24 million deal, the White Sox currently has one of the most expensive bullpens in baseball. There is nothing wrong with that in theory. You need a great bullpen to excel in the postseason.
Unfortunately for the White Sox, Craig Kimbrel does not fit the current role he is assigned to. Kimbrel was a disaster for the White Sox during the second half of the season when he was primarily used as an eighth-inning setup man.
He had a 5.09 ERA in 24 games with the White Sox. Before being traded to the south side, he had a microscopic 0.49 ERA. Before the lockout, there were rumors that the White Sox were looking to trade the future Hall of Famer and get his $14.3 million salary off their books.
By trading Kimbrel, the White Sox will still need some help in the bullpen. But they will also have more financial flexibility to sign a quality arm. Enter Ryan Tepera. Tepera was excellent last season, picking up NL Reliever of the Month honors in May as a member of the Chicago Cubs. He had a 2.91 ERA, 22 holds and 2 saves before being dealt to the White Sox.
Unlike Kimbrel, Tepera excelled upon coming to the south side. He posted a 2.50 mark for Tony La Russa’s squad and picked up six holds and a save. Despite the bulletin board material that he provided the Astros during the ALDS, he was solid in the postseason as well.
He tossed a perfect sixth inning in Game 2, needing only five pitches to dispatch the Astros. In Game 3, he ensured the White Sox kept the momentum by throwing a 1-2-3 fifth inning in just nine pitches then striking out the final two hitters he faced in the sixth, making it nine in a row retired by Tepera.
His last contract was a one-year deal for $800,000. He will be expecting a multi-year deal worth a little more but he is still well within the White Sox price range, especially if they get Kimbrel off the books. Tepera would help them solidify the bullpen and stay under the luxury tax threshold.