Twenty-seven year old Chris Archer made the All-Star team in 2015 for his fine 12-13, 3.23 ERA, 10.7 K/9 season in 2015, but has crashed to 5-13, 4.60 ERA, 10.7 K/9 ERA in 2016.
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Essentially, trading for Chris Archer would be to bet that he will improve over the latter half of 2016. The problem is, the Rays aren’t likely to deal him cheap. Archer is signed though the 2019 season to a very reasonable three-year, $19 million deal after the 2016 season. He’s making a mere $2.9 million this year, and his contract also included two team options at $9 and $11 million in 2020 and 2021.
There’s no way the Tampa Bay Rays are going to give him up cheap when they control him for five more seasons for a total of $39 million. Archer would only need to produce 1.0 WAR per season to justify that contract at the current $8 million per WAR open market rate. Unless he completely collapses, he’s likely to provide excess value over the next five years.
Archer has also pitched better of late, allowing a 3.96 ERA in his last four starts in July. His 10.7 K/9 is the same as his All-Star season in 2015, but his walk rate has zoomed to 3.7 BB/9 up from 2.8 BB/9 in 2015 and his HR/9 has almost doubled to 1.5 up from 0.8 HR/9 in 2015.
Landing Archer would take a substantial package. However, he would be a multi-year solution and could revert to his top-of-the-rotation form. I doubt the KC Royals have the prospects to win a Chris Archer sweepstakes, but Dayton Moore has surprised us before.
I just wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for such a trade to take place. Archer would be nice, and could stabilize the Kansas City Royals rotation for years to come, but will just cost too much in prospects.
Next: Tampa Bay Option No. 2