The White Sox Have Inquired on Mychal Givens - Can We Compare to Last Year's Ryan Tepera Deal?

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The White Sox Have Inquired on Mychal Givens – Can We Compare to Last Year’s Ryan Tepera Deal?

Chicago Cubs

I’ll admit: I’m writing this one as much for me as I am for you. It’s 4:15 am as I type this sentence (we’ll see how long it takes me to actually get through this short post), and I need some kind of boost to keep going on this Blogathon. I’m so tired. Sleeps sounds delicious.

Anyway, here’s something mostly innocuous that Bruce Levine sent out late yesterday:

If I remember correctly – a dubious proposition at the moment – that’s the third local mention of Givens, specifically, with the White Sox, specifically. Now, since they are local mentions and the White Sox, like the Cubs, are a local team, that doesn’t necessarily mean the White Sox are MORE into Givens than any other suitor. It might just mean that the information is more readily available around here to be reported.

But I do think we can at least take it to heart at this point that the White Sox like Givens. That they would gladly trade for him. Just as they traded with the Cubs last year for another setup man in Ryan Tepera.

Which got me curious! How do Tepera then and Givens now compare in value? Is Givens a more or less valuable trade chip now than Tepera was then? And what could we maybe extrapolate about a plausible return from the White Sox?

Well, at the time of the trade, Tepera had a 2.91 ERA and 2.80 FIP for the Cubs, and was on some kind of heater, with each of those numbers much lower since mid-May. Right now, Givens has an even better ERA than Tepera did (2.66), but the FIP is much higher (3.83). Givens is also on quite a heater, not having allowed a run at all since mid-June (during which time his FIP is just 2.19).

Financially, Tepera was a much cheaper addition, since his 2021 salary was just $800,000, whereas Givens’ is $5 million. In theory, the Cubs could eat some of that salary to shrink the difference, but in practice, a trade partner isn’t always looking for that.

Givens’ track record, however, is much longer than Tepera’s was, as Givens has been an effective reliever almost every season since 2015. Tepera, by contrast, has been pitching as long, but had nearly washed out with the Blue Jays when the Cubs worked with him during the pandemic season. He really turned things around heading into 2021, though he was not able to secure a deal until Spring Training when the Cubs signed him on that modest contract – clearly teams weren’t yet buying his resurgence. Givens has also thrown 50% more big league innings, for what that’s worth. There’s just a much more well-established baseline, and likelihood of continuing success with a new club.

One other factor, if you’ll recall: Tepera had a couple blow-up outings at the end of June where something was looking really off. He took a little stay on the IL to rest up his calf, and then he was solid again after returning. But you do wonder if that blip may have concerned buyers a little bit. There is no physical blip for Givens this year.

So, then, on the whole, I think I could make the argument that Givens is a decent bit more valuable now than Tepera was then. The money might be a factor, depending on the buyer, but the Cubs could square that part if they wanted a better return.

In other words, it would be reasonable to expect more than what the Cubs got last year for Tepera: relief prospect Bailey Horn, a lefty with nasty stuff, but who was a pure scouting play (a 2020 5th rounder with very limited experience, and very few thinking he could stay a starting pitcher). He was a 35+ FV prospect according to FG at the time, which was in the 20 to 30 range, at best, even in a very down White Sox system.

So for Givens, maybe you’re looking at a 40 FV? A legit prospect, albeit one with limited upside or serious downside risk? For context, the White Sox came into this season with 19 “40 FV” prospects in the system, according to FG. The Cubs came into the season with 40(!) of them.

OK. I’m kinda losing my thread here a bit. Try to sum it up, Brett. The White Sox, like probably a lot of other teams, are interested in Mychal Givens. I tend to think he will net the Cubs a better return than Ryan Tepera did last year when he was traded to those same White Sox. That doesn’t mean the return will come FROM the White Sox, of course, but if that’s who the Cubs do wind up dealing with, then it should be pretty easy to come to a reasonable framework for a return: do better than last year.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.