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A Hahn Masterstroke: Ryan Tepera for Bailey Horn

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Strong bullpen fortification comes in at a very reasonable price

Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox
Given the prospects cost expected, Rick Hahn shoplifted Ryan Tepera from the Cubs.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wow, OK, Rick Hahn has rubbed two coins together in his pocket for good luck, and come away with two strong pieces for the stretch run.

Earlier today, it was César Hernández from Cleveland for Konnor Pilkington, in what looks to be a pretty fair, win-win deal on both sides.

Hahn quickly followed that with a deal that doesn’t look so fair, even for a rental: right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera from the Cubs for 2020 draft pick Bailey Horn. Given a much higher anticipated prospect cost for a very solid reliever in Tepera, this one looks like an immediate win for Hahn and the White Sox.

This trade didn’t even require a player release to accommodate, as Evan Marshall and his foreboding forearm tightness was shifted to the 60-day IL — in all likelihood ending his 2021 season — to make room for Tepera.

Here’s the full, copyedited White Sox release:

WHITE SOX ACQUIRE RELIEVER RYAN TEPERA FROM THE CHICAGO CUBS IN EXCHANGE FOR MINOR-LEAGUE PITCHER BAILEY HORN

KANSAS CITY – The Chicago White Sox have acquired right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for left-handed pitcher Bailey Horn. To make room for Tepera on the 40-man roster, the White Sox transferred right-hander Evan Marshall to the 60-day injured list.

Tepera, 33, is 0-2 with a 2.91 ERA, one save, 15 holds, 50 strikeouts, a .150 opponents average, 0.78 WHIP and just three home runs allowed in 43 relief appearances with the Cubs this season. He currently owns a six-game scoreless streak over his last 5 23 innings and has recorded multiple strikeouts in four of his last five appearances.

“Ryan has been an extremely reliable bullpen arm this season and throughout his career,” says Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “We are very pleased to add him to our talented and versatile group of relievers. Across his career with the Blue Jays and Cubs, Ryan has succeeded in a variety of situations and has the ability to get both lefties and righties out at very high rates.”

A native of Houston, Tepera ranks among the 2021 National League relief leaders in WHIP (third), opponents on-base percentage (fourth, .224), BABIP (fifth, .196), opponents OPS (seventh, .469), opponents average (eighth), holds (eighth) and opponents slugging percentage (tied for 11th, .245). Tepera has limited righthanders to a .175/.234/.278 slash line and lefties to a .100/.207/.180 line this season, and opponents overall to a .171 mark with runners in scoring position. He has allowed just one home run over his last 36 appearances (covering 36 23 IP).

Tepera originally signed with the Cubs as a free agent on Dec. 20, 2019 after spending his first five major-league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. He recorded a career-high seven saves and 19 holds in 2018, and appeared in a career-high 73 games with 81 strikeouts in 2017. Opponents are hitting just .210/.294/.364 against him lifetime, including a .203/.318/.380 slash line by lefthanders.

Tepera is 12-14 with a 3.54 ERA, 11 saves, 56 holds, 284 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP in 280 career relief appearances between the Blue Jays (2015-19) and Cubs (2020-21). He has appeared in three career postseason games, including one each in the 2015 ALCS vs. Kansas City, 2016 ALDS vs. Texas and 2020 NL Wild Card Series vs. Miami. Tepera originally was selected by Toronto in the 19th round of the 2009 draft out of Sam Houston State University.

Horn, 23, is 2-3 with a 5.63 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 14 appearances (10 starts) between High-A Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis this season. He originally was selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2020 draft out of Auburn University.

Marshall, 31, has been on the injured list since June 30 with a strained right flexor pronator.