2. Ryan Tepera
Any time you have a chance to add a 2020 MVP vote-receiver, you’ve got to do it.
We all laughed at that joke vote at the tail end of a bizarre year ’til we cried, but Ryan Tepera has been a perfectly viable reliever for several years now, and he’s having a sterling 2021 for a Cubs team that’s about to have an all-caps SELL-OFF. We prefer the righty to the soft-tossing Andrew Chafin, and suspect he might fly further under the radar than his teammate.
Tepera’s MVP campaign (hey, it’s written in ink!) featured a 3.92 ERA in a shortened season, but this year, he’s leveled up, posting a 3.02 ERA, 2.88 FIP (which tracks with his peripheral performance last year, with a 3.34 mark), and 0.816 WHIP. That type of base-runner prevention would look awfully nice in a Yankees bullpen that feels prone to surrendering back-breaking hits with the bases loaded … because they are.
The Yankees could use powerful and pedigreed high-leverage relievers, sure, but trading for a big name or a big contract will only further sap them of their resources. Plus, relievers are the most fungible asset possible — hell, Aroldis Chapman has gone from superstar to unpitchable over the course of four months, thanks to the yips and some type of unholy fingernail issue. The more innings-eaters who are trustworthy and are not Justin Wilson, the better. Tepera will also basically be free of charge, so there’s that.