Sunday, September 24, 2023

White Sox Acquire Bullpen Help From Cubs


The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox have agreed to do business with each other once again. On Thursday afternoon the Chicago Cubs traded relief pitcher Ryan Tepera to the White Sox for Class A pitcher Bailey Horn. The White Sox desperately needed to bolster the bullpen and this move accomplishes just that.

The last time these two made a trade it was an earth-shattering deal in 2017 that sent Jose Quintana to the Northside in exchange for a package that included Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. This time around the White Sox were the buyers. While this deal won’t move the needle as the 2017 one did it is still a huge acquisition for the South Siders. Ryan Tepera provides much-needed help to the White Sox bullpen. He was teammates with Liam Hendriks during his stint with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Chicago White Sox bullpen was supposed to be a strength of the team heading into the season. Aaron Bummer even said that their goal was to be undefeated when leading after the sixth inning. It was very apparent early that this group was not as good as they were in 2020.

Codi Heuer’s ERA ballooned up to 5.26. Matt Foster was sent down to Charlotte. Evan Marshall went down with an injury but not before putting up a 5.60 ERA. Aaron Bummer’s ERA is just below five. In-house solutions such as Jace Fry, Zack Burdi, and Jimmy Lambert have also disappointed. The only bright spots in the bullpen have been Micheal Kopech and Liam Hendriks.

Like Liam Hendriks, Ryan Tepera was named reliever of the month in May. He had a 0.61 ERA in May to go along with a save. On the season, he has a 2.91 ERA. He even received a National League MVP vote last season. While that vote was made by accident it still looks good on his resume.

Tepera doesn’t allow many baserunners. He owns a 0.78 WHIP on the season. He also has 50 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched. Tepera has also proved to be reliable throughout his career. He has a 3.54 ERA in seven big league seasons. Late in games, he is someone you can depend on. His slider is the key to his success. When his slider is on he is virtually unhittable. Tepera runs into trouble when he fails to locate it.

With Tepera in the back end of the bullpen, Tony La Russa can build a more effective bridge to the ninth inning. Last Sunday he had to use Liam Hendriks to record a six-out save over the Brewers. That is not a sustainable strategy if he needs that type of performance out of his closer in the playoffs. The White Sox now have a hard-throwing lefty and righty in Garrett Crochet and Micheal Kopech for the sixth and seventh innings and a reliable setup man in Tepera for the eighth.

This was Rick Hahn’s second trade of the day. Earlier he traded for César Hernández. To make room for Tepera on the roster Evan Marshall was moved to the 60-day injured list.

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