The St. Louis Cardinals are interested in reliever Ryan Tepera, who would be a perfect addition to the bullpen.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ decision to not re-sign reliever Luis Garcia was not, uh, popular among fans. He signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the San Diego Padres which, on the surface, seems like an absolute bargain.
But the Cardinals clearly did not value Garcia at $3.5 million per year. What they seek is a more meaningful upgrade — and perhaps they have identified that pitcher.
Right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera has “intrigued” the Cardinals, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He remains on the market following the MLB lockout and the Cardinals are “intrigued by his availability.”
Tepera, 34, is among the most underrated relievers in baseball. He famously drew an MVP vote by accident after the 2021 season, which was solid as he posted a 3.92 ERA in 20.2 innings. This season, with both the Cubs and White Sox, he posted a very good 2.79 ERA in 61.1 innings.
Tepera doesn’t present the trait the Cardinals most covet in pitchers, since he had a 37.2 groundball percentage in 2021. But he would be a meaningful upgrade and give them an established late inning presence that could allow them to move Alex Reyes to the rotation, though the odds of that have decreased following the Steven Matz addition.
Still, just look at this Tepera stat from the fine folks at the Cespedes Family BBQ:
Lowest WHIP in 2021 (min. 30 IP):
Jacob deGrom: 0.554
Casey Sadler: 0.719
Liam Hendriks: 0.732
Josh Hader: 0.835
LOUIS HEAD: 0.857
Max Scherzer: 0.864
Ryan Tepera: 0.880
Tepera may not be the groundball pitcher the Cardinals prefer, but he is very good. Adding him would go a long way toward shoring you the bullpen and given the price it will take — a 2-3 year deal worth $6-7 million per year – it should be a move that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak makes as soon as the baseball lockout is over.