Could St. Louis Cardinals lose Ryan Tepera to division rival?

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Ryan Tepera #51 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 03, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Royals 7-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ryan Tepera #51 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 03, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Royals 7-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Could the St. Louis Cardinals lose Ryan Tepera to a division rival? Jim Bowden of The Athletic predicts the right-hander signs with the Reds.

When the lockout is over, the St. Louis Cardinals are going to be prominently involved in the free-agent bullpen market. One of their top targets is expected to be Ryan Tepera, who is arguably one of the most underrated relievers in baseball.

But there will be competition, and Jim Bowden of The Athletic expects the Cincinnati Reds to be among those teams. In fact, Bowden believes that Tepera will sign with the Reds on a two-year, $17 million contract.

Losing out on Tepera, 34, would hurt. But losing him to a division rival, and having to face him a lot each season after having to do that when the right-hander pitched for the Chicago Cubs, would be salt in the wound. And while the Reds are not going to compete in 2022, or any time soon, they have a need in the bullpen which would allow him to slot in the eighth or ninth innings.

What makes Tepera unlikely for the Reds, however, is that price. They have actively been shedding payroll this offseason, letting Wade Miley and his $10 million salary go to the Cubs at the beginning of the offseason, for nothing. So it’s hard to see them spending $8.5 million on a multi-year deal for a relief pitcher.

Perhaps Tepera is an exception. After all, he’s coming off the best season of his career, posting a 2.79 ERA while allowing only 35 hits in 61.1 innings with 74 strikeouts. It’s what makes him such an intriguing candidate for the Cardinals and any other team that needs bullpen help that aren’t willing to meet the asking prices of Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly.

Assigning ‘Simpsons’ characters to 12 St. Louis Cardinals. dark. Next

While Bowden may think that Tepera goes to the Reds, from my vantage point, such a match is unlikely. When the lockout is over, expect the Cardinals to be a heavy player for Tepera, though that asking price could ultimately prevent him from ending up in St. Louis.

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