Sitting at 19 games back in the AL East, the Rays are in a position to sell, and Chris Archer has the potential to be the most lucrative chip they have to throw in the pot. After the Rays fire sale last off-season that shipped off three former All-Stars, including Evan Longoria, the Rays are in full rebuilding mode. Under normal circumstances, a deal for Archer would already be done, but Tampa Bay is not going to part with him on the cheap, and Archer has a lot to prove before he’s moved.
Calling Archer an Ace is a stretch right now. His career record is below.500, and his ERA has crept up over the last couple of years. He piles up strikeouts with no problem, and aside from this season, his WHIP has always been respectable. The big thing Archer offers a club is durability, which was never in question until right now when the time is prime to move him. He recently came back from an abdominal strain, according to Bleacher Report, and while he has had a couple solid outings since then, he hasn’t gone deep in a game.
The reason he hasn’t been allowed to throw many innings, was in part, because the Rays could afford to bring him back slowly since they are out of contention. The other reason is they don’t want to risk Archer getting injured in a game that means nothing for the Rays and lose the chance to move him before the trading deadline. While that makes solid sense and is a move almost every team makes in the same situation, as the Mets did with Jeurys Familia, teams still want to see that Archer is all the way back, as per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Most general managers and managers don’t seem too concerned about Archer’s win-loss record as the Rays have been no better than third in the AL East in four years. He has had poor offensive support, an average defense behind him at best, and no real hope of seeing the post-season, which Archer has stated he would like to get a shot at in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
“I turn 30 in a couple months, I want to play the game for 10 more years, but there’s nothing guaranteed in life. I want to experience winning.”
While a few contenders are definitely interested in Archer, the Yankees have been rumored to have had him scouted, the Phillies have definite interest according to The Sporting News, and the Red Sox may also be in the fray, but they are not a favorite and could be trying to drive Archer’s price up. Archer is affordable and under club control until 2021, and for a maximum of $8.25 million per season. For a player that can be dominant at his best and carry a pitching staff for a month, Archer is considered a good deal economically according to CBS Sports. The Braves, Mariners, A’s, Brewers, and Cubs could all be in the market for Archer as well according to MLB.com.
What any team looking to acquire Archer is doing, is they are buying his potential. He can be lights out, but he can also struggle mightily. He fastball has declined the last couple of years according to CBS Sports, his durability is now in question, and there is always the roadblock that could appear when the Rays start listing their demands for him. Based on his potential and very club-friendly contract, Tampa Bay can ask for a mid to high range prospect as a part of the package for him as it is a seller’s market and the market is about to close.