Twins reliever Kevin Jepsen will be 32 years old in a month or so and he is pitching in his ninth season in the big leagues. Jepsen was selected in the second round by the Angels in 2002 and the Twins selected Jesse Crain just a few picks later. Like most pitchers, Jepsen started his career as a starter but was moved to the bullpen full-time in 2006 and he has not started a game since.
The Twins acquired Jepsen in a trade with Tampa for prospects Chih-Wei Huh and Alexis Tapia at the trade deadline in 2015. Not unlike many of the relievers in MLB, Kevin Jepsen has had an up and down career. Very few relievers are consistent from year to year and if they are, they usually find themselves in a closer’s role.
Jepsen was a godsend for the Twins last season when he pitched great as the 8th inning guy before taking over the closer role from Glen Perkins in mid-August. 2016 has been one of those bad seasons for Jepsen from day 1. Jepsen has lost his closer role now but he has appeared in 32 games this season and pitched 29.2 innings. In his 29+ innings Jepsen has given up 42 hits and 12 walks and given up 22 runs, 21 of them earned. The man has pitched horrendously for the Twins while getting paid $5.3 million.
So what do you do with him? Why keep a reliever who is pitching poorly even if he is making a modest $5.3 million? But who will take a reliever off your hands that has given up 42 hits in 29+ innings and has a 6.37 ERA? Jepsen has pitched one clean (no hits or walks) inning in his last 23 appearances going back to April 25th. The Twins may not get much in return but there are teams that would take a chance on Jepsen because it is not unheard of for players like Jepsen to turn their year around with a change in scenery and he is a free agent after this season. Even if the Twins can’t get anyone to take Jepsen than just dump him and you still win, there has to be some minor league pitcher in the Twins system that deserves a look.
UPDATE: Kevin Jepsen was designated for assignment on July 3, 2016.