Milwaukee Brewers: Are they in on Rays starter Chris Archer?

Matthew Dewoskin
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 9: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field on July 9, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 9: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field on July 9, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers interest in Tampa Bay Rays starter Chris Archer dates back to this past off season. Could the Brewers make a move for Archer before the July trade deadline? It seems possible.

The Milwaukee Brewers had a scout in attendance at Monday night’s Tampa Bay Rays / Detroit Tigers match up. The Tigers sent Francisco Liriano to the mound, while Chris Archer made his first start since June 5th.

The Brewers were there to watch Archer, right?

Absolutely. They could have interest in Liriano, but they could watch him any time. The fact that this was Archer’s first game back from the DL indicates that he’s the Milwaukee Brewers clear target.

Liriano was tagged for seven runs on eight hits and on walk in 2 1/3 innings. He’s probably available?

Why was Archer on the DL?

Archer was pulled from his start on June 2nd with what was originally diagnosed as groin tightness. After further tests, the injury was called a left abdomen strain. He experienced a setback around June 11th, and only started to throw again on June 20th. He made a four inning rehab start on July 3rd, and was declared ready to return.

On Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers scouts watched Archer throw 3 1/3 innings and allow three runs, all earned. Archer struck out three and walked two. The Tigers tagged him for six hits with only one going for extra bases.

Archer threw 78 pitches with 53 going for strikes.

What does Archer’s contract look like?

He’s signed through 2019 with club options for 2020 and 2021. He’ll only make $7.5 million next year, and his option years are each worth $8.25 million. His contract is very affordable for a pitcher of Archer’s status.

Are the Rays ready to sell?

The Rays are 16 games out in the AL East, and 11 games out of the second Wild Card. That’s a lot of ground to make up. They are above .500, but they’re pretty much out of the race at this point. It makes sense for a team with their financial restrictions to sell at the deadline.

Could the Brewers actually make a deal for Archer?

Archer’s 3.85 xFIP indicates that his 4.41 actual ERA is a bit of a mirage. He owns an 8.92 K/9 and a 3.16 BB/9 this year. The strikeout numbers are actually low for him, but so are the walk numbers. His average fastball velocity is down about 1 MPH from last year. He’s also going to turn 30 before the end of the season.

Archer won’t come cheap even with his recent struggles and injury issues. He has a 5.2 WAR season under his belt, and certainly looks the part of an ace, even if his stuff doesn’t always translate to on-field results. He’ll cost the Milwaukee Brewers at least two top prospects plus extras.

Archer would look great at the top of the Milwaukee Brewers rotation…if he was guaranteed to stay healthy. The Brewers need an ace. Archer looks like a top flight starter, but the results don’t always match his talent.

Next: What's the latest on the Brewers interest in Manny Machado?

If Brewers GM David Stearns wants to truly go ‘all-in’, sell the farm, and add Archer, it may pay off. It’s also likely that Archer would hit the DL again, or struggle in Miller Park…or struggle away from Miller Park. The Brewers need a pitcher that’s as close to a sure thing, and given Archer’s cost, he’s unlikely to return value even with his affordable contract. It’s great that the Brewers are interested in Archer, but they should look elsewhere for a starter at the trade deadline.

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