Reflecting on Ryan Tepera’s Trade for Reasons, Top Franchises, and Other Cub Balls

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On the one hand, the Bulls game last night was a great experience because I was with friends, UC is fun, and live basketball makes for a really different viewing experience than on TV. On the other hand, the Bulls were absolutely trampled and Zach LaVine was injured almost immediately. So… mixed party?

• Doing another circuit of all the reports in the wake of MLB’s first lockdown offer to players, you can synthesize a pretty clear set of industry expectations at this point: it remains likely that a deal be concluded before regular season games are lost (although that’s not a guarantee), but spring training is a close lock to be kept to a bare minimum for season preparation. Probably something like a build-up week before the game and then three weeks of games. So basically just March. That would leave another month from here for a deal to be done, and then two weeks of “offseason”. It’s not even that it would necessarily *take* a month to get a deal done from here, it’s just that everyone seems to agree that it’s the pain of the regular season that will force the action, so you need to work backwards from March 31 Opening Day to determine when the parties will feel pressured enough to make a deal. So plan on at least another month to try and get through the days. I can’t believe we made it through 45 days of this…

• Something extremely random that I often think about — since I think about Cubs prospects a lot these days — is the trade with Ryan Tepera. Random, like I said. But it is true, and there is also a chronological link today. I will get there.

• The further we look back at the Cubs’ 2021 trade deadline, the more we see how well the Cubs have done in their sell trades. I don’t mean in terms of how things work out – that remains to be seen in years to come – but I do mean in terms of the expected value you might get in the rental business in the current era. Teams just don’t part with really big prospects in the rental trades anymore, and yet the Cubs have landed several who could possibly end up in the top 100 guys this time next year, especially the young guys. high potential that they seemed to be focusing on.

• Which brings me back to the Tepera business, which stands out a bit from the others. Although Tepera was considered around baseball as one of the best pure right-handed rental relievers available (with a small payroll outlay), the Cubs’ return was considered very light, and also a very different type from the most other commercial returns. : 2020 fifth-rounder Bailey Horn, approaching 24, was a guy with mixed results at High-A, and who didn’t necessarily plan to remain a starting pitcher for years to come. We haven’t talked much about Horn since the trade, largely because his High-A results with the Cubs were poor, especially for a college arm.

• But I thought about Horn and this transaction again today because I saw that Horn was 24 today. Happy birthday to the lefty. And the more I think about the Cubs targeting him in this trade, knowing that Tepera absolutely had quality trade value, the more I think Horn had to be a guy the Cubs liked in the very short 2020 draft (and didn’t lucky enough to land him), and whose 2021 professional debut with the White Sox must have confirmed to them – in the underlying data – that he was a unique guy they thought they could get the most out of, even if in as a power lifter along the road. As I understand it, the spin/stuff metrics were still pretty good on Horn even though the results weren’t, and he has the ability to kick it up to 98 mph. None of this means the Cubs were *right* in picking Horn as a return in a deal for Tepera (perhaps they could have landed another high-risk 19-year-old), but Horn was such a outlier in a trade season that was otherwise laden with very young, very high upside prospects, it just makes me think the Cubs thought they could steal one. And it makes me more excited to see what Horn looks like coming out of his first half and full offseason in the Cubs organization, which has made significant progress seeing pitchers develop a lot during these tough times. off-season. I think we’ll know by mid-season if the Cubs were right to target Horn or not.

• Additionally, Tepera, 34, has proven fantastic for the White Sox after the trade, and should be a pretty hot reliever in the market coming out of lockout. Maybe the Cubs can re-sign him, then trade him again for another scouting-specific target..

• If you had asked me where the Cubs fit in this particular pantheon of baseball history before I saw it, I think I would have been pretty damn close to the sweet spot. Although the Cubs in our lives have generally been underwhelming, the Cubs had been in the class of the sport for half a century many moons ago. Not that it helps us much today, but that’s how you end up with this:

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• A bit of fun thinking back to part of the post-World Series victory lap:

• I hope you are joking:

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