Kevin Jepsen was shipped to the Rays by the Twins at the trade deadline with the hopes that a change of scenery would help him right the ship on a disastrous first half. The results were only slightly better in Tampa, where he still was touched up for a 5.68 ERA and .360 wOBA over 19 frames. The veteran experienced regression across the board in 2016, including with his K/9 rate (6.3), BB/9 (3.8) and HR/9 (2.2) rates, as well as batting average against (.305). Meanwhile, his hard contact rate allowed (37.5 percent) was the highest of his nine major league seasons despite his fastball still regularly clocking in the low-90s, and hitters of both handedness hit over .300 against him. Jepsen became a free agent in early November, and given what is now a multi-season slide, offers limited fantasy upside even after joining a Diamondbacks organization with relatively few proven options in the bullpen.
Jepsen was released by the Diamondbacks on Saturday, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports. The 32-year-old reliever posted a 12.27 ERA in 3.2 innings this spring, so it's no surprise that he was cut loose. It's possible that he'll catch on elsewhere, but it's hard to see him earning high-leverage innings anytime soon.
Jepsen signed a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks on Monday, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports. After compiling a 2.33 ERA across 69.2 innings in 2015, Jepsen fell apart completely while splitting last season between the Twins and Rays. In addition to seeing his strikeout rate drop to 6.3 K/9, Jepsen served up a whopping 12 homers in 49.2 innings, which was the chief reason behind his bloated 5.98 ERA. Jepsen's prior success at the MLB level will at least give him an opportunity to audition for a bullpen gig with the Diamondbacks, but at 32 years old, he could already be past his expiration date.
Jepsen's option was declined by the Rays, making him a free agent, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Jepsen joined the Rays partway through the season, but his results with Tampa Bay were not much better than those in the Twin Cities. He has a wealth of major league experience and is only a year removed from a very strong campaign, which could help the 32-year-old ink a major league contract over the winter.
Jepsen was credited with his fifth hold of the season in Tuesday's victory over the Blue Jays, giving up only one hit during a scoreless eighth inning. The 32-year-old righty has had an up-and-down September, giving up five earned runs over two appearances, but turning in scoreless efforts in three others. Jepsen is enduring the second-worst statistical season of his career, posting a 2-6 record, 5.88 ERA and 35:20 K:BB over 49 innings with the Twins and Rays.
Jepsen has allowed eight hits and three runs over 9.1 innings since joining the Rays on July 14. Considering his awful 6.16 ERA with the Twins earlier this year, Jepsen may have needed a change of scenery. Batters had a .978 OPS against him in Minnesota compared to .704 with the Rays. He's still not striking people out though, averaging almost two strikeouts per nine (6.7) less with the Rays than his career average before the season (8.5).