With pitchers and catchers arriving at Blue Jays camp this week, we’re beginning to hear what many of the players have been up to the past four months.
For Ryan Tepera, it was an off-season to forget…or at least the part of it where he lost his arbitration case was. Upon arrival in Dunedin earlier this week, Tepera made it perfectly clear what he thinks of the arbitration process and the fact that he lost his hearing. Tepera had the following to say…
It’s a f’d-up process, it really is, and I don’t know what the solution is to it, to make it better. At the end of the day, it comes down to me winning or losing the case and I hate losing at anything. So obviously I’m not happy, but it’s over and done with. It’s part of the process. I don’t say a word, I just kind of sit there and listen and basically hear my side brag about me for an hour, and then the other side kind of talk crap about me for an hour.
For the past two years, Tepera has been a workhorse for the Blue Jays. Pitching in 141 games over that time. It isn’t just how often the Blue Jays call upon Tepera that deserves recognition, but that he’s often tasked with the toughest assignments of any Toronto reliever. When one of Toronto’s less reliable relievers screws up (something that’s happened quite often the last few years), it’s almost always Tepera they call on to clean up the mess. And because he’s one of the more talented relief pitchers they have, it means he often has to go up against the oppositions best hitters.
The Blue Jays went to arbitration with Tepera over a measly $275K. In MLB terms, not exactly a ridiculous amount. With Tepera asking for $1.8 million, and the Blue Jays offering $1.525 million. Tepera ended up losing his case and will make what the Blue Jays offered. Over such a small sum, Toronto’s best relief pitcher is now a little pissed off. And if anyone who says Tepera isn’t worth the $1.8 million he was seeking, they obviously haven’t watched everything he’s done for this ball club the past four years.
When the Blue Jays are willing to fork over a combined $54.4 million to Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin to not even play for them, why would they take such a firm stance against a player like Tepera who’s still such an important part of this team?
Tepera has been playing for the Blue Jays since 2015, and ever since then he’s had to fight tooth and nail for every little thing he’s earned. During his first two years, despite already proving himself as one of their better relievers, he was the guy who was shipped back and forth between Toronto and Buffalo countless times. Now, after four straight solid seasons, he’s still getting far too little respect for someone as valuable as he is to the Blue Jays.