Kevin Jepsen was brought to to the Rays in December in a one-for-one swap with the Los Angeles Angels for Matt Joyce. Coming off a stellar season with the Halos, Jepsen had posted a 2.63 ERA with a 10.49 K/9 of and a 3.2 BB/9 in 65 innings.
Fast forward to today, and Jepsen hasn't lived up to the previous year. He is posting a similar ERA, but his peripherals suggest he has merely gotten by, with a xFIP of 4.08. His strikeouts are way down at 7.34 K/9 and walks are up at 4.32 BB/9. The disappointing year, combined with Jepsen's escalating price tag in his final year of arbitration next season, has resulted in Jepsen being put on the trade block for the Rays.
So what can we expect as a return for Jepsen and the Rays? To find out, lets look at a deal that happened earlier this week.
Tyler Clippard vs Kevin Jepsen
Tyler Clippard was dealt from the Oakland Athletics to the New York Mets on Monday.
Clippard was originally sent from Washington to Oakland for ex-Ray Yunel Escobar. When Oakland acquired Clippard, they were expecting an extreme fly ball pitcher (like Jepsen) that would flourish in the Coliseum, that had posted a 2.64 ERA with a 10.49 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 rate with the Nationals since 2009.
Since coming over to the A's, Clippard has been a part of the disappointment for the would-be conteding Athletics team, with a 8.84 K/9 and 4.89 BB/9 as well. His xFIP is a whopping 5.31 which is a vast difference than his 2.79 ERA, and may be due to a very lucky .214 BABIP, which dare I say may get even worse on a different team.
Clippard and Jepsen have suffered similar disappointing results on teams that thought they would make a playoff push, and now find themselves on the move again.
So who did the Athletics receive?
When Tyler Clippard was traded to the Mets, the A's received lanky RHP Casey Meisner.
Meisner was signed in the 3rd round of 2013, and was listed as the Mets number 22 prospect preseason. Kiley assigned Meisner as a 40 FV prospect value, noting an average curveball and change up with an above average fastball.
McDaniel said it was difficult to project where Meisner would land at the MLB level due to his age, but a best case scenario was Pirates top prospect Tyler Glasnow, with a more realistic projection as a #4 starter or bullpen arm. It's not a definite major league projection, but not out of the realm of possibility.
What does this mean for the Rays?
I think the Rays can expect something similar to who the Athletics received from the Mets in Meisner, possibly even better.
Financially, Jepsen (who is only owed ~$1 million to finish the season) is a significantly cheaper option than Clippard (~$3 million) and would help bolster any bullpen. Therefore, Jepsen's similar numbers to Clippard should net the Rays a similar prospect, but Jepsen also offers an additional year of control.
Based on what the Mets surrendered, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Rays do a little better than Meisner in a deadline deal, and that's enough incentive for the Rays to deal this high leverage pitcher, even if the team might still be in contention and need bullpen help.