Tepera sticks in the AL West, where he’s spent the past year-plus with the Angels. The right-hander signed a two-year, $14MM free agent contract with Los Angeles coming out of the lockout. He’d had a quality run between the Chicago clubs from 2020-21. The Halos surely envisioned something approximating the 3.07 ERA he posted over 86 contests during those two seasons.
Things didn’t play out that way. Tepera didn’t find his footing in Anaheim. He pitched to a 3.61 ERA over 57 1/3 innings last season. That’s solid enough run prevention, but his strikeout rate fell from an excellent 31.9% clip between 2020-21 to a modest 20.3% last season.
His struggles carried into the first month of this season. Tepera allowed nine runs (seven earned) on 15 hits in 8 2/3 frames over ten outings. His average fastball velocity sat at 91.7 MPH, down a tick relative to last season and nearly two miles per hour below his 2020-21 level. His slider lost a similar amount of speed. The Halos designated him for assignment a month ago and released him a few days later.
Tepera is making $7MM this season. The Angels are on the hook for that money; if Texas adds him to the MLB roster, they’d owe him only the prorated portion of the $720K league minimum. There’s no financial downside for the Rangers in giving Tepera a look to see if he can more closely approximate his peak numbers in a new environment.
Texas’ bullpen has been the roster’s relative weak point. The Rangers sit at 41-25, three and a half games clear of the Astros in the AL West. The relief corps has struggled, though, ranking 24th with a 4.57 ERA.