Milwaukee Brewers: Chris Archer vs. Marcus Stroman, who to trade for?

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) /

The Milwaukee Brewers have been linked to both Marcus Stroman and Chris Archer. Sadly, they won’t deal for both. Which starting pitcher makes more sense to acquire?

The good news is that the Milwaukee Brewers have nine days to improve their roster before the July 31st deadline. The bad news is that so does everyone else. Recent rumors have the Brewers linked to both Marcus Stroman and Chris Archer. Is there an option that fans should have greater interest in?

How is Archer doing this year?

This year or yesterday? Archer tossed six innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on Sunday. He didn’t walk anyone and he struck out 13 batters.

For the season, Archer owns a 4.30 ERA with 99 strikeouts and 29 walks in 90 innings of work. His velocity is in-line with his career average, and his xFIP claims he’s actually closer to a 3.52 ERA than his 4.30 actual. However, he hasn’t ended a season with a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015.

What about Stroman?

Well, after posting a 7.70 ERA in his first seven starts, Stroman hit the DL with right shoulder fatigue. Stroman spent about six weeks on the shelf with his shoulder issue. After completing a rehab program, Stroman retuned to the Majors on June 23rd.

He’s made six starts since coming back from the DL. Four have been solid, one has been mediocre, and one was awful.

Stroman has a 5.42 ERA in 73 innings of work in 13 starts. He’s struck out 59 and walked 28. His 3.80 xFIP indicates that he’s pitched better than his actual numbers.

The good news for Stroman is that even when he had should fatigue, he didn’t suffer a noticeable drop in velocity. If anything, he was throwing his change-up too hard and has since adjusted. He averaged over 85 MPH on his change in the first few months of the season. He took a little off the change in July, and averaged under 82 MPH on the change.

What about injury concerns?

This is where Archer has the advantage. While Archer has struggled at points in each of the last few seasons, he rarely misses time. Stroman spent time on the DL as recent as this season, and he also has a Tommy John surgery under his belt.

Who has the more affordable contract?

Archer is owed $7.5 million next year, and has a pair of team options for 2020 and 2021 worth $8.25 million each. Stroman has two years of arbitration before hitting free agency in 2021.

Who will cost less in a trade?

Good question. Neither? Both will cost an interested team multiple top prospects, and there really isn’t a clear ‘cheaper’ option between the two. It really depends on who the Milwaukee Brewers are willing to part with.

It’s clear that the Milwaukee Brewers aren’t looking to part with Corbin Burnes or Keston Hiura. The Brewers balked at dealing Burnes for Manny Machado. Could they deal him for Archer or Stroman? Sure, they could, but it’s not likely.

It’s also clear that the team values Hiura. There have been concerns about Hiura’s glove, but he’s played over 400 innings at second base with only four errors. He may not be rangy, but he’s capable.

Corey Ray, Luis Ortiz, Brett Phillips, and Lucas Erceg could all head out in a potential deal for a starting pitcher the caliber of Archer or Stroman.

Is there a clear advantage?

Not really. It looks like Archer is the better ‘fantasy starter’ who will rack up strikeouts in bunches and generally not offer much else. Stroman struggled early in the year, but he’s clearly rebounded.

But who’s the better option for the Brewers?

Touch call. Archer has the greater upside and could put together a fantastic run in the final few months. Stroman is more likely to end up as a solid, if not unspectacular, option for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Next: Could the Brewers deal for Jonathan Schoop?

If the team wants to hang a banner this year, Archer is probably the better, and more affordable, option in the short term. If the Brewers want to walk away from Archer, they don’t have to pick up his option in 2020. However, the Brewers would have to pay Stroman for two years, and hope that he stays healthy and wants to re-sign. There are no guarantees that either of those occur.