It goes without saying that 2019 has been a disappointing and trying year for Ryan Tepera. A late inning stalwart at the back of the bullpen for most of the last two years, he didn’t look right in Spring Training before starting the season on the injured list with elbow issues that required consultation with the surgeons no pitcher wants to see. Activated in mid-April, he struggled for a month before going back on the IL and then the 60-day, making a return before August very unlikely.
Tepera was drafted in 2009 out Sam Houston State, the last remaining player from not only that draft class, but from the J.P. Riccardi era entirely (ever since Carlos Ramirez was claimed off waivers last May). He debuted with the Gulf Coast League Jays on July 6th, picking up the win with 1.2 scoreless innings. But before that, he officially signed on Canada Day: July 1st, 2009 — at least per multiple sources (Baseball-Reference, Baseball America); the Blue Jays Draft Results page lists July 5th but is replete with errors and generally unreliable, so I default to the other sources.
That means today, Canada Day 2019, marks 10 years for Tepera officially as a member of the Blue Jays organization. At some level, this is an arbitrary threshold, but it nonetheless represents a pretty significant milestone. By my count, he’s just the 35th in franchise history to reach a 10th anniversary, a list filled with franchise icons:
It’s also significant in that he’s the first to reach 10 years since Casey Janssen and Adam Lind did so within a couple weeks of each other in June 2014. That five year gap is the longest ever, eclipsing almost four years between Mark Eichhorn in late-1992 and Pat Hentgen in mid-1996. From the first expansion Blue Jays to hit the level through 2014, the average was a little over one player per year reaching a 10th anniversary, so five years without a notable gap.
The outlook for the next 10 year anniversary is clouded at best. Aaron Sanchez, Dalton Pompey and Danny Barnes were all drafted in 2010, but none are locks (or perhaps even likely) to be with the Blue Jays one year hence. Kevin Pillar was the last 2011 player remaining. 2012/2022 is probably the best bet to produce a few: if not Marcus Stroman, then Anthony Alford, Ryan Borucki, and/or Richard Urena.
A final point of interest with Tepera is that at the end of this year he’ll have 4 years, 8 days of service time, meaning despite exceeding the 10 year mark, the Jays retain significant control and it’s conceivable he could be around for several years. Another anniversary would vault him to 18th, and two more would leave him just outside the top-10 in all-time franchise history.
In any event, congratulations to Ryan Tepera on reaching 10 years with the Blue Jays. It’s no small feat to last that long in professional baseball, and here’s to many more.
When all is said and done, Ryan Tepera’s total Blue Jays tenure will be:
This poll is closed
Less than 11 years (moved before Opening Day 2020)
11-12 years (gone before 2021)
12-13 years (through his last year of team control)
13+ (extension etc)