The Milwaukee Brewers will be searching high and low for upgrades this July as the Trade Deadline approaches. Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer should be one of those players.
The Brewers have been rumored to be targeting Chris Archer for awhile now. He was a main target during the last offseason, but a deal was obviously not reached. Now that the Rays are continuing to sell and try to rebuild their organization, the time to trade Archer is now.
With 3.5 years of control remaining on Archer’s incredibly team-friendly contract, the cost to acquire him should be high. The Milwaukee Brewers and other teams will try to argue down the prospect price because Archer has missed time this season with an injury.
Archer has pitched well since returning from the DL, and the Brewers did have a scout at his first game back. While he hasn’t gone deep in his two starts since his activation, he hasn’t allowed much offense. In his last start, Archer struck out seven in only 4.1 innings of work and allowed just one run.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Archer is drawing “significant interest” right now. Archer has two more starts before the Trade Deadline. If he continues to perform better and better over those starts, he could build up enough trade value to force the Rays into considering trading him.
Is Chris Archer A Fit?
Archer is absolutely a fit with the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s young, he’s under long term control, and he can boost this rotation to the next level. He’s basically everything GM David Stearns is looking for.
When Stearns acquired Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, he sent the message that he wanted an extended window of contention. Chris Archer would only add to that group of core players under Brewers club control through at least 2021.
Projected Trade Package For Chris Archer
With an ace-level talent under very cheap team control for a long period of time, the acquisition cost is going to be high. Archer will cost the Milwaukee Brewers at least one of their top two prospects.
Given the impression that Corbin Burnes is making at the big league level right now, I would believe that he is off-limits in a potential Archer trade. He was off-limits for Manny Machado, but Machado was a pure rental. But the more the Brewers see of Burnes, the less likely they are to want to trade him.
So the package would have to be headlined by somebody else.
Keston Hiura is the Milwaukee Brewers top prospect, and for good reason. He’s raking in Double-A, hitting .303 on the year, with 10 homers, 11 stolen bases, and an .855 OPS. But his long term defensive home is still in question. He grades out as a below average defender at second base, and there’s not many other defensive positions to go from there. A move to Tampa Bay and the American League where he can DH could be beneficial for Hiura.
Luis Ortiz has been in Double-A for his third season now, and is finally healthy and making progress. With the emergence of Burnes and Freddy Peralta this season, finding a home for Ortiz in the Brewers rotation has gotten tough. The Rays need pitching in a bad way, and there has to be a high level pitching prospect going to Tampa in return for Archer. Ortiz fits the bill.
Cody Ponce is another pitching prospect with a ton of potential. He’s in the Double-A rotation along with Ortiz, and Ponce faces a murky future in Milwaukee with the logjam of starting pitchers currently ahead of him. Tampa can afford to be aggressive in his placement and continue his quick path to the big leagues. He will be a starter in the big leagues relatively soon.
The Double-A Biloxi Shuckers roster is getting raided in my trade proposal as Jake Gatewood is the final player in my projected trade package. Gatewood has 18 homers this season and has as much power as anyone in the Brewers farm system. Drafted as a shortstop, Gatewood then moved to third base, and now to first base and the outfield. His lack of a long term defensive home may make him expendable to the Brewers as well.
In return for Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays get the Milwaukee Brewers No. 1, No. 4, No. 13, and No. 17 prospects according to MLB Pipeline. It’s an expensive trade from the Brewers perspective, but there’s little chance the Rays make the trade for much less.
Ortiz, Ponce, and Gatewood would all need to be added to the 40 man roster this offseason or they would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft. With no immediate spot for them on the Crew, trading them might be best.
After trading four high quality prospects for Christian Yelich over the winter, the farm system was thinned out. They would thin out the system once again if they deal for Archer. While it wouldn’t leave the Brewers farm barren, it would leave it dangerously thin.
But since Archer is controlled for a long period of time, it completes the core group of players for the next several seasons. They shouldn’t need to make any more blockbusters for the rest of their period of contention, only smaller additions to complement that core.
While there’s no guarantee that Archer will get traded this July, things are trending that way right now and the Brewers are going to be interested.