Last offseason, the Los Angeles Angels signed two free agent relievers to try and improve what was a horrible bullpen. Both Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera were coming off of excellent seasons in 2021 and both had long track records of success.
Unfortunately for the Angels, both of these signings have not worked out. Loup wasn't great in 2022 and struggled mightily this season before being placed on the IL conveniently after a very rough outing. Tepera also wasn't great last season and was even worse this season.
Loup is still here for now, but who knows how long that'll last. Tepera, after blowing yesterday's game, is no longer an Angel as the team Designated him for Assignment.
LA Angels make shocking but correct move Designating Ryan Tepera for Assignment
Ryan Tepera has had a really nice career. From 2015-2021 he posted a 3.48 ERA acting primarily as a set-up man pitching for the Blue Jays, Cubs, and White Sox. He had a 3.61 ERA last season but blew a ton of games late, and was even worse this season.
Tepera had made ten appearances for the Angels this season, allowing seven runs in 8.2 innings of work. His ERA sat at 7.27 following his disastrous outing last night.
Tepera missed a couple of weeks due to a shoulder injury and had pitched four scoreless innings since returning, but his latest blow-up was the final straw. This was the third game in which Tepera had played a huge role in blowing, and he's only made ten appearances this season.
He allowed four runs while recording just one out against the Blue Jays in a game the Angels eventually lost. He allowed three runs against the Red Sox in a game the Angels eventually lost although in that game he was betrayed by Matt Thaiss and his catchers interferences. His most recent blow up saw him allow two home runs to a Guardians team that has hit the fewest home runs in baseball.
Tepera's Angels tenure can be summed up by his inability to perform in big spots. This season, in at-bats considered to be high-leverage, opponents had seven hits in 14 at-bats with one home run. He did not allow a single run when pitching in the fifth and sixth, but he always blew up late. In the seventh, opponents had five hits in seven at-bats against him. In the eighth, they had nine hits in 20 at-bats. Overall from innings 7-9, Tepera had a 12.60 ERA and saw opponents hit .519 against him in his five innings of work in those spots.
Getting rid of Tepera while he's still owed $7 million shows that the Angels are serious about trying to compete. Tepera has not and was not getting the job done in virtually any role they needed him in, so they got rid of him even with the hefty price tag. If Loup comes back and struggles, you have to think he's gone too. Perry Minasian made the mistake of signing him, but he didn't hold onto him to try and save face which is crucial. Credit Arte Moreno for allowing them to eat the money as well.
Hopefully Zack Weiss can provide the bullpen a much-needed lift with Tepera's departure. The 'pen will need to be addressed in a big way at the trade deadline if the Angels want to compete.