The Toronto Blue Jays and reliever Ryan Tepara are fractions apart in salary negotiations, however, both sides still failed to find common ground before the arbitration filing deadline.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Ryan Tepera filed for $1.8 million while the Toronto Blue Jays countered at $1.525 million. MLB Trade Rumors had projected Tepera to earn $1.7 million for the 2019 campaign.
The 31-year old earned $574,400 last season while posting a respectable 3.62 earned run average with 19 holds and seven saves in 68 appearances for the Blue Jays. Tepera also sported career-highs last season in strikeouts per nine (9.5) and WAR (1.3).
The former 19th round selection is compiling an impressive MLB resume through four big league seasons. Tepera owns a career 3.49 earned run average with 10 saves and a 2.9 WAR in 193 relief appearances.
Tepera is the only player the Blue Jays were unsuccessful in negotiating a contract with having come to terms with the other seven arbitration-eligible players. Marcus Stroman, Randal Grichuk, Kevin Pillar, Aaron Sanchez, Brandon Drury, Joe Biagini, and Devon Travis all inked pacts before the filing deadline.
Surprisingly, the Blue Jays and Stroman avoided a hearing this time around, the sides have needed the services of an arbitrator the previous two seasons. Stroman won his case in 2017 but came out on the losing end in 2018, this time around they agreed on a $7.4 million dollar pact.
Although the sides are only $275,000 apart, the Blue Jays need to incorporate the effect the raise will have on future years of eligibility for Tepera and company. The overworked reliever undoubtedly feels that he has earned the raise.
Tepera once again looks to be a valuable part of the Blue Jays bullpen and will be counted on to bridge the gap to closer Ken Giles in 2019. There is still a chance the two sides come to a resolution and avoid the hearing seeing they are so close apart.