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‘Not happy’ Tepera plans to use Blue Jays salary setback as fuel

DUNEDIN, FLA.—It took Ryan Tepera about 15 hours to travel from his Texas household to the Blue Jays’ spring instruction facility, where by his arrival was greeted warmly by teammates.

Tepera responded in sort, but the 31-yr-previous appropriate-hander also arrived at Dunedin Stadium with a chip on his shoulder right after shedding his latest wage arbitration case.

Workhorse reliever Ryan Tepera finished 19 games for the Blue Jays in 2018.
Workhorse reliever Ryan Tepera concluded 19 game titles for the Blue Jays in 2018.  (Rick Madonik / Toronto Star file photo)

The sides weren’t far apart by baseball benchmarks — $275,000 (all bucks U.S.) — with the reliever searching for $1.8 million and the Jays supplying $1.525 million, which is what he wound up with.

It’s a significant hike from the $575,000 he designed in 2018 — when he concluded 19 game titles, like 7 saves in 15 prospects, and recorded a 3.64 Period more than 64 2/3 innings — but he wasn’t content about the result.

“It’s a f—-d-up course of action, it really is, and I do not know what the answer is to it, to make it greater,” Tepera claimed Wednesday. “At the conclude of the working day, it arrives down to me successful or shedding the case and I despise shedding at just about anything. So clearly I’m not content, but it is more than and finished with. It’s component of the course of action.”

Tepera was among the 9 arbitration-qualified Jays, but the only just one who did not settle with no a hearing. He likened very last Thursday’s proceedings — a fit-and-tie affair settled by arbitrators Mark Burstein, Howard Edelman and Edna Francis — to a courtroom hearing.

“I do not say a word, I just sort of sit there and hear and in essence hear my aspect brag about me for an hour, and then the other aspect sort of discuss crap about me for an hour,” Tepera claimed.

The Jays’ entrance business office experienced no speedy comment. Basic manager Ross Atkins was predicted to discuss to the media on Thursday morning.

The club has won three of 5 instances due to the fact Mark Shapiro and Atkins took charge in late 2015. Jesse Chavez won his case in 2016, and Marcus Stroman was victorious in 2017. Stroman and Roberto Osuna dropped in 2018.

“The negative items that have been claimed to me, by my very own group, will never ever go away my intellect,” Stroman tweeted (due to the fact deleted) right after very last year’s arbitration defeat, when the sides have been just $400,000 apart.

All over the majors, players have won six of 9 instances this off-season, guaranteeing they’ll earn extra than they shed for the very first time due to the fact 1989-90.

Tepera has come to be a essential component of just one of the busiest bullpens in the majors. Jays relievers combined for 5962/3 innings in 2017, third-most in MLB, and Tepera led the way with 772/3 frames. In that breakout yr he wound up with a 3.59 Period and 1.13 WHIP. The bullpen combined for 5941/3 in 2018, the 11th-best total in the bigs.

He expended about two months on the wounded checklist very last season with appropriate elbow inflammation, but says he learned from the encounter and enters camp feeling more robust than at any time.

Arbitration emotions aside, Tepera says he’s seeking ahead to staying a go-to male in the late innings as soon as yet again as the club carries on to rebuild, including that he’s continue to discovering as he gains encounter. He was in the eye of the storm very last June when he gave up a wander-off homer to Houston’s Alex Bregman in a 7-6 loss, a activity the Jays led 5- in the very first inning. Then manager John Gibbons known as it the “low point” of the season.

Mostly a fastball-slider male, Tepera is seeking to bulk up his repertoire with a slower slider as properly as a splitter or changeup. He’s also concentrated on methods to strand extra baserunners, like quickening his delivery to help management the jogging activity.

Locations of his activity that have to have perform have been brought up in the wage hearing, Tepera claimed right before including that he’s “thick-skinned” and just as dedicated to helping the Jays get to the up coming level.

“It leaves a small undesirable taste in your mouth, but (I’ll) use it for drive to be greater,” he claimed. “There are particular items that I have to have to perform on and clearly they pointed them out, so just be greater. That’s what you do each and every season … but there is a small excess drive, no doubt.”

Laura Armstrong is a sports activities reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

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