Should the Angels Non-Tender Kevin Jepsen?

By Michael Hllywa

Prior to the conclusion of the 2013 season, it was almost universally agreed upon that Tommy Hanson and Jerome Williams were going to be non-tendered this year. Jerome is getting too expensive for being a swing man and, Hanson was, well, terrible. He was terrible and more expensive than Williams. He’s gotta go.

Recently, names like J.C. Gutierrez and Chris Nelson have joined this group of non-tender candidates. Mike Digiovanna of the L.A. Times added another player to his personal list of non-tender candidates earlier.

I am not sure which decision would be correct with regards to Kevin Jepsen. The other four seem like obvious slam dunks. They either are not good enough to justify the salaries that they will get next year or, are simply, not good. Jepsen on the other hand has been kind of an enigma in the Angels bullpen over the last few seasons.

Here’s a list of Kevin Jepsen’s ERA+ totals over the course of his big league career:

Looks like Jepsen has whatever illness Ervin Santana suffered from. And, if that is the case, may be looking at a bounce back season. He also has this thing where he throws a fastball with movement at an incredible rate of speed. Those kinds of things tend to be highly valuable to a team’s bullpen. And the Angels are no different in that regard.

Jepsen is also in a situation where he has been pushed down the depth chart thanks to the emergence of Dane De La Rosa and the signing of Joe Smith. Chances are, in 2014, there won’t be as many high-leverage innings for Jepsen to pitch as there has been in the past. It doesn’t hurt to keep a reliever around for a couple million bucks. It is not as though relievers are growing on trees.

On the other hand, the Angels need starting pitching. I personally am desperate for them to get decent-to-good starting pitching. And $11.3MM can go a long ways towards adding a quality starter. It goes even further if the Angels trade away Howie Kendrick and the $9.35MM he will be making in 2014 and 2015. Yeah, I am still OK with the idea of Grant Green being the everyday second baseman. The Angels need pitching, people. They need it badly.

But, the Angels can’t really afford to lose a reliever who, at times, has been quite effective.

But, injuries.

But, lack of depth.

But, an ERA+ of 51 in 2011.

Yeah, that memory is still fresh.

Executive decision? It would be a tough call because the Angels lack pitching depth. But, they have more relief depth than they do starting depth. Sorry, Kevin, but I think it is time for you to go. Your gift basket and gold watch are at the front desk. Take as long as you need to pack your things.