5 free agent relievers the Chicago Cubs need on their wish list

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Ryan Tepera / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Top 5 free agent relievers to target – #4: Ryan Tepera

Ryan Tepera was a key piece of the Cubs’ three-headed monster at the back end of the bullpen last year. He went on to put up even better numbers on the South Side upon being traded at the deadline. In a Cubs uniform, Tepera had a 2.90 ERA – and with the White Sox, he worked to a 2.50 mark. All told, he put up a 2.79 ERA and 2.73 FIP between the teams, establishing himself as a premier bullpen arm.

Once Tepera left, there was a gaping hole in the late innings for the Cubs. Re-signing Tepera after losing him at the deadline could end up being a power move. Twenty-three-year-old Bailey Horn, who was acquired by the Cubs via the Tepera trade, struggled at South Bend this summer – but going out and bringing Tepera back in free agency means it’s a no-risk situation for Chicago.

Tepera likely won’t garner elite-level money – and could be a significant boost to the bullpen mix. Given the improvements in the rotation, there’s likely less to be asked of when it comes to the relievers. Hopefully that means guys like Tepera aren’t run ragged like they were in 2021. Given the success he had on the North Side in the past, there’s cause to have hope he can do it again moving forward.