One of the major targets on the trade market this offseason is Chris Archer. The Milwaukee Brewers were known to have interest in the controllable starter but he may no longer be on the market.
Recently, the Tampa Bay Rays dealt franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants, thus ridding them of his long term contract. While the team was expected to begin a fire sale, getting rid of Archer, Jake Odorizzi, and Alex Colome, that may no longer be the case.
Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Rays may undergo a quick rebuild. Their farm system isn’t in a bad shape like the Brewers was when our rebuild began. The Rays have seven prospects in the Top 100 after acquiring Christian Arroyo in the Longoria trade. Five of them have already seen Major League action and are just about ready to contribute.
If the Rays believe they can contend in two years while still having a few years left on Archer’s extremely affordable contract it makes no sense for them to move him. After moving Longoria they may just be content with that move and go on a rebuild from there.
It would take a lot for the Milwaukee Brewers or any other team to acquire Archer to begin with. Now that the Rays have even less inclination to deal their ace starter, the price will have jumped even higher. David Stearns has already shown no desire to pay extremely high prices for pitching this offseason and that is unlikely to change.
If Tampa seriously believes they can rebuild in two years, it makes sense for them to hold on to Archer. They may try to pawn off Odorizzi instead. But if the Brewers were to acquire him, it would be another mid-back end rotation arm. However, he is not the top-flight starter the Crew is looking for.
However, if the Rays want to simply strip everything down and start anew, there is still the possibility of moving Archer to a new team. Plus, if they are looking to turn around quickly, players like Lewis Brinson and Domingo Santana could be of particular interest to Tampa Bay. They are both MLB ready players and could expedite that rebuild. By acquiring one of them for their outfield that is currently lacking they get a solution outside of Kevin Keirmaier.
It will take one of those two to headline a return package if the Milwaukee Brewers are to acquire Chris Archer. It’s unknown which, if either of them, the Rays are most interested in. But they hold all the cards and all David Stearns can do is hope they like his offer. But since the Rays are under no pressure to move Archer, it will be difficult for David Stearns to get leverage in negotiations. Although that doesn’t mean he can’t gain traction.
While Chris Archer is the top name on the trade market for starting pitching, he is not the only one. Danny Duffy is still potentially on the market. And teams are starting to try to pry Marcus Stroman away from the Blue Jays. There is still a way for Stearns to add a top flight starter but it won’t come cheap.