Crosstown trade: Tepera to White Sox

July 30th, 2021

KANSAS CITY -- There should be few relocation costs involved for right-handed reliever after he was traded across Chicago from the Cubs to the White Sox on Thursday in exchange for Minor League left-hander Bailey Horn.

This trade is the first intracity move by the two Chicago clubs since left fielder Eloy Jiménez and right-hander Dylan Cease were acquired for left-hander José Quintana as part of a five-player deal on July 13, 2017. Jiménez has become a fixture in the middle of a potent White Sox lineup, while Cease is a strong part of one of the top starting rotations in the Majors.

That was a trade featuring the Cubs attempting to defend their World Series title and the White Sox at the outset of a rebuild. But with the White Sox now having their sights set on a 2021 World Series title, Tepera figures to be an important move if not quite as prominent as Jiménez/Cease.

To make room for Tepera on the 40-man roster, the White Sox transferred right-hander Evan Marshall to the 60-day injured list; a bullpen injury that, in part, necessitated this move. Tepera will work with righties Michael Kopech and Codi Heuer and left-handers Aaron Bummer and Garrett Crochet as high-leverage White Sox relievers in front of closer Liam Hendriks.

“I'm looking forward to [playing] with them,” Tepera told Cubs reporters after Thursday’s loss to the Reds. “I had a couple of guys, actually, Liam Hendriks reached out to me today, texted me and said, ‘Hey, I'm excited to have you.’ He talked about how much fun they have over there. So, good things are going to happen.”

“He just fits into our depth,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “We talked about it at length a few days ago, it depends on who's available that day and the points of the game. The bullpen has to be ready. If you're Codi or Garrett, you may pitch in the fifth or the sixth or the eighth. Have to watch the game. He will fit in the same category.”

Tepera, 33, was 0-2 with a 2.91 ERA, one save, 16 holds, 50 strikeouts, a .150 opponents average, a 0.78 WHIP and just three home runs allowed in 43 relief appearances (43 1/3 innings) with the Cubs this season. He formed a solid late-inning trio with left-hander Andrew Chafin and closer Craig Kimbrel, but still became the second of the three to be traded after the Cubs dealt Chafin to the A's on Tuesday.

“Ryan has been an extremely reliable bullpen arm this season and throughout his career,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “We are very pleased to add him to our talented and versatile group of relievers. Across his career with the Blue Jays and Cubs, Ryan has succeeded in a variety of situations and has the ability to get both lefties and righties out at very high rates.”

Horn, 23, was the No. 23 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline. He originally was selected by the White Sox in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft out of Auburn University. Horn and Tepera now are a small part of Chicago baseball history, with Tepera embracing the uniqueness of a trade and that overall lack of traveling cost after the move as well.

“I've been telling everybody that it's pretty simple and easy, you know? I can stay in the same apartment,” Tepera said. “I usually scooter to the field, but now I've got to drive to the field.

“So it's only about 15-20 minutes longer. It could be a lot worse. I like it. I'm excited. It's kind of a unique thing for a trade to happen between crosstown rivals. Obviously, going to a first-place team, playoff contention, I'm looking forward to it.”