Tag: Christopher Archer

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest on Chris Archer, Clay Buchholz and More Offseason Buzz

An old baseball adage suggests “you can never have enough pitching,” and most of the high-profile movement this offseason, both in terms of free agency and trades, is backing up that notion. Front offices around the league are paying sizable prices to improve their rotations and bullpens.

Expect more of the same leading up to spring training since there’s still a talented group of starters available via trade. And there’s plenty of demand among contenders as they look to keep pace with the likes of the reigning champion Chicago Cubs and likely offseason winner Boston Red Sox.

With that in mind, let’s check out some of the latest trade buzz from around MLB and analyze what it could mean for the players and teams involved.


Rays Seeking King’s Ransom for Chris Archer

Chris Archer didn’t live up to expectations leading the Tampa Bay Rays staff this past season. The 28-year-old right-hander went 9-19 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across 33 starts. Those numbers represented his worst performance since a brief six-game cameo in 2012.

Things weren’t as bad as they may seem on the surface, though. He posted a more typical 3.25 ERA after the All-Star break and still struck out an eye-popping 233 batters in 201.1 innings. His 3.41 xFIP for the season was also below his career average, according to FanGraphs.

That’s why the Rays still want a boatload in return if they decide to trade him. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the front office is seeking a package bigger than the one the Chicago White Sox received for Chris Sale, which included prized prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

Mark Bowman of MLB.com previously noted Archer was the most likely trade target for the Atlanta Braves, but they felt the asking price was too high. The latest update from Topkin explains why.

Of course, there’s no rush for Tampa to make a deal. The starter remains under team control for five more years at club-friendly prices of no more than $8.25 million, per Spotrac. It adds to his value and takes away some of the risk associated with a potential trade.

The Braves make sense as a landing spot. They are looking to turn the corner after a rebuild and have bolstered their rotation with veterans Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia. An ace is still needed, however, but it sounds like they’ll wait to see if the price drops before going all-in on Archer.


Clay Buchholz Being Pushed into Market

Clay Buchholz is an enigma. There are certain years, like 2010 (2.33 ERA) and 2013 (1.74 ERA), when he performs like one of the top pitchers in baseball. Alas, there are also certain seasons, like 2016 (4.78 ERA), when he pitches on a level barely worthy of a major league roster spot.

The 32-year-old Texas native did pitch better down the stretch last season. He accumulated a 3.22 ERA in 19 appearances split between the rotation and bullpen after the All-Star break. It was a much-needed turnaround after finishing the first half with a 5.91 mark.

Now it seems like the Red Sox may try to capitalize on his resurgence by moving him while the pitching market is hot. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported the front office is trying to sell teams on Buchholz rather than Drew Pomeranz as it looks to clear a pitching logjam.

The Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners are among the teams that have called Boston about possibly acquiring a starter, according to Cafardo. He pointed out the veteran’s $13.5 million contract for 2017 is a hurdle in talks, though.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is having a strong offseason, but getting value for Buchholz will be a challenge. Not only is the contract a problem, but the peripheral statistics don’t lend a ton of hope to a major rebound next season.

A team like the Twins is probably Boston’s best bet to unload him. Minnesota continues to lean far too heavily on pitchers with low strikeout potential, and it could still use another starter after Jose Berrios struggled mightily in his first taste of action in the majors in 2016.


Houston Astros Casting Wide Pitching Net

The Houston Astros are prepared to make some serious noise next season. They added Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki to help create one of the league’s most well-rounded lineups, and they’re already strong in the bullpen, where so many other teams are looking to upgrade.

While the starting rotation lacks star power outside of Dallas Keuchel, it’s still a rock-solid group that’s probably good enough to guide the team to the playoffs as it sits. Adding another starter with No. 1 or No. 2 ability could move Houston toward title contention, though.

Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reported the Astros are making an effort in that area, adding, “The team has the prospects to get a deal done and is likely to make a move at some point.” He listed Jose Quintana, Jake Odorizzi, Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura and Archer as notable targets.

Aside from Archer, Quintana is the name that stands out most from the group. The 27-year-old lefty has been one of the most reliable starters in baseball since making his debut in 2012. He holds a career 3.41 ERA and has never finished a season with a mark above 3.76.

If the Astros could acquire him for a package of prospects to take the spot where Charlie Morton is penciled in, it’d become hard to find a weak spot on the roster. Such a move would push the team all-in for next season, but it feels like a leap worth taking after years of building.


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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest on Chris Archer, Jonathan Lucroy and More

With time running out until MLB‘s non-waiver trade deadline, nearly half of the league is sandwiched together atop the standings.

Fourteen teams have accumulated at least 50 victories. Shortly before the non-waiver trade window shuts on Aug. 1, a clear line divides the contenders and pretenders. Given the parity at the top, every playoff hopeful can convince itself that one or two shrewd moves will catalyze a championship run.

Such a climate could create chaos over the next 10 days. Some of the most popular trade candidates remain on the rumor mill, even if all of them aren’t veterans on expiring contracts.

Their availability might be only for show, but let’s examine the latest buzz on some of baseball’s best players on the market.


Chris Archer

If there’s a player a small-market seller shouldn’t shop, it’s a 27-year-old ace, especially not when he’s on the books for a team-friendly contract through 2021. And especially not during a down year.

A year after registering a 3.23 ERA and 252 strikeouts for the Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer has posted an inflated 4.60 ERA in 2016. He’s on the hook for an MLB-worst 13 losses, only two of which qualified as quality starts.

It’s a poor time for Tampa Bay to move a struggling franchise centerpiece, but an anonymous team executive expressed confidence that the Los Angeles Dodgers would land him, per ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark:

Even if the Rays deal Archer, don’t expect them to sell low. Stark clarified their high asking price, which makes a move feel less certain than the previous source suggested:

Will the Dodgers pay up? Per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, an executive said they “have almost no choice but to overpay for a controllable starter such as Archer or [Chris] Sale,” with ace Clayton Kershaw possibly needing surgery. Another source previously told Rosenthal the Chicago White Sox turned down a “king’s ransom” for their rotation anchor.

If motivated to stay in playoff contention without Kershaw, the Dodgers have a deep enough farm system for an aggressive move. Top pitching prospects Jose De Leon, Grant Holmes and Frankie Montas could grab Tampa Bay’s attention. The crown jewel of their young talent, 19-year-old Julio Urias, would especially force the Rays to consider a blockbuster move.

Despite his 2016 struggles, Archer remains a top-shelf arm who has punched out 147 batters over 123.1 innings. Unless the Dodgers make a Godfather offer, he’ll stay put, with Matt Moore or Jake Odorizzi potentially moving instead.


Jonathan Lucroy

Milwaukee Brewers teammate Ryan Braun is a flashier household name, but Jonathan Lucroy stirs more excitement among contenders. The 30-year-old catcher is hitting .301/.357/.484 during a bounce-back year, and few peers garner more respect for their defensive work.

A $5.25 million club option for 2017—chump change for an elite two-way catcher—fortifies his trade value but allows Milwaukee the flexibility to stand pat if no offer whets its whistle. As a cheap upgrade for every team besides the San Francisco Giants, he’ll draw plenty of eager admirers before Aug. 1.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the Cleveland Indians are one such suitor:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt added that the two sides will expand those negotiations to include relievers: 

Contrary to Olney‘s tweet, Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes reported Michael Brantley’s latest setback won’t intensify Cleveland’s pursuit of offensive help. Yet it’s reasonable to expect the American League Central leaders to address the worst catching production in baseball. 

Yet Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball dampened the likelihood of a transaction. 

“While an Indians person confirmed they talked about Lucroy, that possibility was downplayed, which makes sense since the Indians probably want to save their bullets for pitching,” Heyman wrote.

The Indians boast one of baseball’s premier rotations, but their bullpen is a sore spot, aside from Dan Otero and closer Cody Allen. Baseball Prospectus gives them an 97.3 percent chance of making the playoffs, so they should give serious thought to obtaining Lucroy and bullpen help from Milwaukee.


Jay Bruce and Josh Reddick

Not every maneuver needs to set the baseball community ablaze. For teams needing an offensive boost in a corner-outfield slot, Jay Bruce and Josh Reddick represent sensible choices who shouldn’t command top-flight prospects in return.

Since they fit the same role, it’s natural for their markets to intertwine. According to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, a few teams are eyeing both sluggers:

Boasting a .528 slugging percentage and 19 homers, Bruce represents the grander offensive upgrade. A $13 million club option for next year also tacks on more future worth than Reddick‘s expiring contract. Yet any buyer must consider the defensive repercussions.

Because of his minus-12.3 ultimate zone rating, the worst mark of any outfielder, Bruce grades out as a replacement-level player despite his demonstrative power. The Dodgers might be desperate enough for the power, and the Cubs could mask his shortcomings with baseball’s best defense. Heyman tossed the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals into the mix as well.

Reddick is no defensive wizard, and he has delivered significantly less power, with six long balls for the Oakland Athletics. The 29-year-old also, however, wields a higher weighted runs created-plus mark (121) than the Cincinnati Reds bruiser (117) thanks to his keen batting eye.

Per the San Francisco Chronicle‘s John Shea, Reddick indicated he “would love to” remain in Oakland. 

“It’s kind of disheartening something hasn’t been worked out so far, and we’ve been four months into it. It is what it is,” he said.

Oakland has rarely shown loyalty to its tenured players, so expect Reddick to go when the last-place franchise unloads before the deadline. He’s a two-month rental who can help a handful of contenders.


Note: All advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Contract information obtained from Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

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Chris Archer Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding Rays SP

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer is reportedly generating interest ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline despite a lackluster first half of the 2016 season. 

Continue for updates.

Archer Could Become Most Coveted Starter Available

Thursday, July 21

Jayson Stark of ESPN reported Thursday the Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged as the apparent favorite for Archer. One source told Stark there’s a “70 percent” chance the starter lands with L.A.

Archer entered the season with sky-high expectations after a terrific 2015 campaign that saw him post a 3.23 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while striking out 252 batters in 212 innings. Those numbers showed he had the potential to become one of the American League’s top aces.

Instead, he’s taken a step back so far this year. He sports a 4.60 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP through 21 starts. Although a starter’s record doesn’t carry a ton of weight, especially on a struggling team like Tampa Bay, his 5-13 mark is still unsightly.

The 27-year-old North Carolina native told Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times on July 14 he’s not entirely sure why his results haven’t matched up with his prior success: “I’ve had a pretty good career. You can break it down in six-month intervals if you want. My total body of work pretty speaks to who I am. The honest answer is I don’t know. I have so much upside, so much potential.”

His biggest problem has been a lack of command. He’s walking 3.7 batters per nine innings this season compared to 2.8 last year. Those extra free passes have caused him to get into more jams, and he’s only had moderate success working out of them.

It’s not all bad news, though. His strikeout rate (10.7) ranks seventh in baseball among qualified starting pitchers. He’s also seen increases in batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and the ratio of home runs to fly balls against him, which is partly why his xFIP is a more reasonable 3.60, per FanGraphs.

Ultimately, the intriguing question in trade talks will be the asking price. It’s unclear whether the Dodgers, and any other interested teams, are trying to buy low or if they’re still willing to pay top dollar based on the Rays star’s past success and peripheral stats.

Archer isn’t having the season Tampa wanted from him. That said, he’s better than his baseline numbers suggest, and he’s under club control through 2021 at a reasonable price, as Spotrac figures show. So the Rays would be making a major mistake trading him away without getting a king’s ransom in return.


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Rays’ Archer Breaks Single-Season Franchise Strikeouts Record

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer broke his franchise’s single-season strikeouts record during the third inning of Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees, fanning Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner for his 240th punchout of the season, per Sportsnet Stats.

Archer entered the game with 236 strikeouts, needing just four to break Scott Kazmir’s prior franchise record of 239.

Though his record dropped to 12-12 in the losing effort, Archer did mange to strike out seven batters over six innings, giving up just two runs on four hits and four walks.

His breakout season hasn’t quite been enough to keep the Rays in the playoff picture, but Archer does have a fringe case for the American League Cy Young Award, ranking fifth among the league’s qualified starters in ERA (2.95), fourth in WHIP (1.07), fourth in innings (198.1) and second in strikeouts (243).

Per Fangraphs’ measurement of the statistic, Archer ranks fourth among American League starters with 5.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), trailing only Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (6.0 WAR), Toronto Blue Jays pitcher David Price (6.0 WAR) and Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel (5.5 WAR).

With pitchers on successful teams typically getting a boost in the voting, Keuchel and Price appear to be the favorites, although Keuchel’s case took a big hit when he gave up nine runs to the Texas Rangers in Wednesday’s 14-3 loss.

Archer could perhaps push his name back into the conversation, but he’d likely need to dominate in his final three starts, with Keuchel and Price (and maybe even Sale) falling apart over the same stretch.

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Chris Archer Ties Rays Record for Double-Digit Strikeout Games

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer tied a franchise record Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins by recording his ninth double-digit strikeout game of the season, per Sportsnet Stats.

The mark was previously set last season by David Price, who has since pitched for both the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays.

Unfortunately for the Rays, Archer’s 12-strikeout effort came in a 5-3 loss, with the ace allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk to drop the club’s record to 62-64 and his own record to 11-10. Despite the loss, the 26-year-old remains among the league’s top pitchers and has a legitimate shot at the AL Cy Young Award.

Archer represents one of the few bright spots for the 2015 Rays, who have fallen out of playoff contention over the last couple of weeks. After trading away Price in July 2014, the team needed another pitcher to step up and grab the ace role, and Archer has more than capably filled that void.

Over 194.2 innings last season, Archer posted a 3.33 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 173 strikeouts and a 10-9 record. He’s taken it to another level this year, potentially finishing with a sub-3.00 ERA (currently sitting at 2.88) while upping his strikeout rate to a career-high 11.2 per nine innings.

Although the Rays probably won’t be taking home any hardware as a club this season, it wouldn’t be a shock if Archer brings some back to the Tampa area himself. It should also be a comfort to know that the team has one of the league’s top pitchers under contract for the next four seasons.

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Archer Notches 4th Straight Start Without Allowing an Earned Run

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer tossed seven shutout innings during Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, setting a franchise record by going a fourth consecutive start without allowing an earned run, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Going back to 2000, the 26-year-old righty is one of just six American League pitchers to go four straight starts without surrendering an earned run, with Cory Lidle of the 2002 Oakland Athletics the only hurler to extend such a streak to five starts.

The list includes Zack Greinke (2009) and Johan Santana (2004), both of whom won the Cy Young Award during the respective seasons in which they put together their streaks.

While few had Archer pegged as a Cy Young candidate heading into this season, his early statistics are impossible to ignore.

He owns a 3-2 record, 0.84 ERA and 0.74 WHIP through five starts, with the traditional numbers backed by a superb 37-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Since allowing four runs (three earned) in an Opening Day loss to the Baltimore Orioles, Archer has surrendered just one unearned run in his subsequent four starts, though the unearned run did lead to his second loss of the season, with the Rays falling 1-0 to the Boston Red Sox back on April 21.

The right-hander was untouchable during the three starts that led to victories, as he allowed two or fewer hits over exactly seven scoreless innings in each game. Per Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN.com), Archer is the only player in the modern era (since 1900) to toss three outings of seven or more scoreless innings with two or fewer hits allowed within his first five starts of a season.

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