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Cubs free agent targets: Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera

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They were a dynamic duo in the Cubs pen in 2021 before being traded.

Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

I’m writing about Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera in a single article because I think the Cubs should bring both of them back for the 2022 bullpen. Why not put the band back together?

Chafin was a revelation in blue pinstripes in 2021. In 43 appearances he posted a 2.06 ERA and 0.839 WHIP, allowing just one home run in 39⅓ innings. Traded to the Athletics, he was just as good: 1.53 ERA, 1.057 WHIP in 29⅓ innings. All told in 2021: 1.83 ERA, 0.932 WHIP, 2.9 bWAR in 68⅔ innings. Without a doubt he was one of the best relievers in baseball last year.

Chafin turned down a $5.25 million mutual option — a deal originally given him by the Cubs — to head to free agency.

Now, you’re going to say that 2021 was by far Chafin’s best MLB season and the likelihood of him replicating it is fairly small, and you’d be right. However, from 2017-19 Chafin was a perfectly competent reliever for the Diamondbacks: 3.46 ERA, 1.337 WHIP, 3.11 FIP. That’s a performance worth a two-year deal for a reliever who will turn 32 in June, I’d say. Chafin seemed to like it as a Cub:

Two years, $12 million, $7 million option for 2024 with a $1 million buyout.

As for Tepera, he also had good numbers for the Cubs prior to his trade to the South Side: 2.91 ERA, 0.785 WHIP in 43 games, and he continued that with the Sox: 2.50 ERA, 1.111 WHIP in 22 appearances. Overall: 2.79 ERA, 0.880 WHIP, 1.7 bWAR.

Again, you’re going to tell me that might not be repeatable, and you might be right. And I’ll again come back with Tepera’s perfectly useful numbers in Toronto from 2015-18: 3.46 ERA, 1.141 WHIP. Tepera will be cheaper than Chafin. He just turned 34 last week, and a two-year deal probably wraps up his MLB career. Two years, $5 million.

Conceivably, if the Cubs do sign these two and don’t contend in 2022, they could both be flipped again at the trade deadline.

And in any case, they’ll both have their parts in the Cubs’ combined no-hitter last June for their memory books, and Tepera will always have that accidental 10th-place MVP vote from 2020.

Who says no?

Poll

Andrew Chafin...

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a deal like the one proposed in the article
    (408 votes)
  • 6%
    ... the Cubs should sign him, but it will cost more in years or dollars or both
    (77 votes)
  • 60%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (749 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (9 votes)
1243 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Ryan Tepera...

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a deal like the one proposed in the article
    (360 votes)
  • 4%
    ... the Cubs should sign him, but it will cost more in years or dollars or both
    (55 votes)
  • 65%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (809 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (6 votes)
1230 votes total Vote Now