Rays deal Jepsen to Twins for 2 pitching prospects
BOSTON -- The Rays traded Kevin Jepsen to the Twins for Minor League pitchers Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"We added two young pitchers to our system," said Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman. "Two arms that we like. We always like to have pitching depth and pitching talent. And that was a key motivator in this deal."
Jepsen, 31, is earning $3.025 million this season and is controllable through 2016. The veteran right-hander was 2-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 46 appearances with the Rays this year. He had 34 strikeouts and 20 walks in 41 2/3 innings.
"While it's not going to be easy to replace the performance of Jepsen," Silverman said, "we have confidence in our group of relievers. And we believe it will continue to be a strength of our club."
Rays manager Kevin Cash called the trade of Jepsen "unfortunate because of what he did on the field for us and what he did in the clubhouse."
"We are confident that we have guys who can fill in," Cash added. "Our entire bullpen has been very strong, and it's going to allow an opportunity for some other guys. ... I think ultimately we just need to play to our capabilities and we should end up in a pretty good spot."
Hu, 21, was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game this season, going 5-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 15 starts for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. He currently ranks third in the FSL in ERA and fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (7.8).
Last season, Hu's 2.15 ERA across two levels ranked eighth among Twins Minor Leaguers. Over parts of three Minor League seasons, he is 16-5 with a 2.31 ERA and 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He was signed by the Twins as a non-drafted free agent out of Taiwan in 2012.
Tapia, 19, is 8-5 with a 2.94 ERA over parts of three Minor League seasons. He has made eight appearances (six starts) between Fort Myers and Rookie-level Elizabethton this season, going 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA, and had a career-high nine strikeouts in his last start on July 27. He was signed by the Twins out of Venezuela in 2012.
Silverman said he did not know yet what level either of the two pitchers will be placed at, but he liked their addition.
"The more [pitchers] that we have, the better we feel about our system and our ability to maintain the talent level that we need," Silverman said.