White Sox acquire Ryan Tepera from Cubs to bulk up bullpen

May 27, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Ryan Tepera (18) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Chicago won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tony La Russa, having already used Aaron Bummer, Michael Kopech and Liam Hendriks, didn’t have a best idea for the 10th inning on Wednesday night. He went with Ryan Burr, who entered the game having allowed 16 baserunners over 6⅔ innings in July, ended up giving up a walk-off single on an 0-2 pitch with two outs.

But there wasn’t a clearly better option. Garrett Crochet had pitched the 10th inning of three games and had three losses to show for it. Codi Heuer had thrown nine scoreless outings out of 10 this month, but that only lowered his ERA to 5.12, and his walk rate is on the rise. Reynaldo López would’ve been pitching on consecutive days, and he’s also Reynaldo López.

Today’s trade attempts to alleviate that issue and provide La Russa a clear option behind his best arms. The White Sox acquired Ryan Tepera from the Chicago Cubs for 2020 fifth-round pick Bailey Horn.

Tepera rolls across town with a 2.91 ERA over 43⅓ innings over 43 appearances. He’s allowed just 22 hits and 12 walks while striking out 50. The performance is legit according to Baseball Savant, as his .173 XBA, .285 XSLG and .213 XwOBA are all in the top 10 percent of the league.

His cutter — classified as a slider this year by Statcast — leads the way, as it’s turned into a major swing-and-miss pitch over his time with the Cubs. He briefly stumbled at the end of June, around the time the league started cracking down on foreign substances. However, it never showed up in his spin rate, and he’s thrown six scoreless outings in July, allowing just three singles against nine strikeouts, and stranding all six inherited runners.

Tepera gets chases, he gets whiffs, and the contact he does allow is on the quiet side. That’s about all you can ask from a deadline relief acquisition, with the understanding that performances can be volatile regardless of credentials. He’s a free agent at the end of the year.

The White Sox are sending Horn across town, at probably the nadir of his value. The fifth-round pick (who received the third-highest bonus of the class) posted a 13.09 ERA with Winston-Salem issuing 11 walks on top of 12 hits over 11 innings with the Dash. He was better with Kannapolis beforehand, and a 189 ERA after one start in High-A might’ve rattled him. He’ll get a chance to reset his numbers.

Combine it with the Cesar Hernandez trade that sent Konnor Pilkington to Cleveland, and the White Sox have dealt away two college lefties signed out of the SEC on six-figure bonuses from a three-year period. 2021 third-round pick Sean Burke will be able to replace one of them in terms of depth, although he went to Maryland.

(Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

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A very solid deadline. So far, anyways (I hope). Good value for critical need areas. One more arm for the bullpen would be awesome.


Love this trade. This is really going to help get the other relievers onto the appropriate rung on the leverage ladder.


Yep. I think Tepera their 3rd most reliable reliever. They can really use another, still.

I’m still surprised they gave up so little, which really does mean Hahn should hopefully not be done. I half wonder what the cost would be for Contreras.


It’s been so long since the Sox were deadline buyers that I didn’t really know what to expect going into today. Solidifying both 2B and the bullpen, while not giving up a legit prospect to trade for anybody spectacular, feels like Hahn got done what needed to be done. Now he has the chance to really swing for the fences without worrying he will be left empty handed. A catcher or one stud reliever is about the extent of my wish list at this point.

Last edited 2 years ago by mikeyb

Makes you wonder what took them so long. I don’t see how any Sox fan can be bothered by what they gave up.

Stands to reason they can get one or both of the other additions you suggest, with all their trade chips intact. What about Contreras?


I’m pleased with Rick Hahn’s work today, He filled the two most glaring holes on the roster with acceptable solutions. It’s possible Pilkington and Horn have successful MLB careers, but the Sox could afford to part with each of them.

I’d still like another catcher and one more reliever, but am glad for these additions.


While scanning rumors, I’ve been reading this guy’s name in my head as Tempura. I may be a dumb person.


Or maybe just hungry


Rather a reliever remind somebody of Tempura then Tambora.

Root Cause

Great additions.
Now, get Grandal back as asap even as a DH/1st base to bulk up the offense. He homers or walks so he doesn’t really need to run.


But if he doesn’t catch then someone other than Seby needs to go down (Sheets?) and we’ll see more of Eloy in the field. So let’s hope Grandal is able to catch!

Root Cause

I agree. Just ready to see the A team on the field and I would like them to find a way to keep Sheets too.


On a general MLB note, sounds like Padres are making a serious run at Max Scherzer.

Now I am making 2 assumptions here which aren’t too far fetched:
1) Giants are good enough to hold on to division title
2) Trevor Bauer is cooked for the season (or atleast long enough to not change current outcomes)

I find it extremely amusing that after all the wheeling and dealing and big spending, it could last one single game before you’re sent packing.

Ofcourse the survivor of that game is in prime position to win the NL pennant. but that one game prospect is still fascinating enough


And Berrios is almost certain to get traded. If the Padres get Scherzer, I would assume the Dodgers will make every effort to get Berrios.


Couldn’t be happier about Scherzer going to the Padres instead of the Red Sox. Just that much less likely to have to face him in the playoffs


Abso-freking lutely. I did not want Scherzer, a righty, on Houston, New York, Boston, etc. Redsox are getting Sale back soon, who had 20K’s in 10 innings in his rehab starts. Anyway good news!


Irony is a one-and-done situation is where a team most wants a guy like Scherzer


Two totally solid trades, with very little chance of what they gave up coming back to haunt them. Very surprised at what they had to give up. I still think they need one more reliever, but today is a heck of an improvement over the potential of them doing nothing. Very solid day we can all be happy with.


Pilkington is exactly the sort of pitcher the Guardians regularly turn into a Cy Young candidate. I don’t mind the Sox losing him, but he may hit his ceiling for a division rival.


I was thinking the exact same thing. 100% chance Konnor is an all-star in Cleveland within 5 years.


Surprised they made two deals giving up so little. Excellent. Not to get greedy, but the Astros got two relievers, which is what the Sox should try to do. Considering how little they had to give up, I don’t see why Hahn would not try to make at least one more deal.