Exit Interview 2023: Ryan Tepera

This season didn’t go like most seasons.  The Cardinals were terrible.  I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary.  However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series!  Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals.  We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same.  As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!

Player: Ryan Tepera

Stats (Cardinals): 0-0, 2 G, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, 9.00 ERA, 11.76 FIP, 2.000 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR

Statcast (all): 8.1% barrel, 27.0% sweet spot, 111.9 max exit velocity, .442 wOBA, .346 xwOBA, 19.3% K, 7.0% BB

Grade: D

How will you remember the Ryan Tep-era?  Will you remember it started when Genesis Cabrera was put on waivers?  Or that it ended three days later when Tyler O’Neill came off the injured list?  That he actually had a hold in his brief Cardinals career?  That he retired two of the first three batters he faced?  That he got four outs in his last appearance?

Will you remember him when a Cardinals/Cubs column comes up on Immaculate Grid?  That he only faced the Marlins in his Cardinals career?  Do you think when someone asks about the 2023 St. Louis bullpen you’ll put him on the list?  Will Bryan De La Cruz remember him as the author of the pitch he hit for his 30th career home run?

I think the only real remembrance of Tepera will be that it made more sense that the club signed him not to be a reliever, not to help a bullpen depleted and a rotation about to be dealt, but as a tribute to the passing of Rick Hummel earlier that season.  Hummel had famously voted for Tepera for MVP a few years ago when he clicked on the wrong name, meaning to vote for Trea Turner.  It was either get Tepera, who was still active, or try to lure Matt Cain (his usual focus of the rare tweet) out of retirement.

What’s in store for 2024: Given that a team this terrible only gave Tepera two chances before unceremoniously dumping him it seems a little unlikely that he’ll find work in the majors again.  He’s 36 and a right hander so it seems that, at best, someone brings him in for minor league depth and much more likely his nine year career will come to a close.

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