After just one day at the winter meetings, other teams are finding the asking price for Rays ace Chris Archer to be too steep for their liking.
This should come as no surprise, for even though Chris Archer’s season was mired by team losses when he was on the mound, Archer was among the better pitchers in baseball with a sub-3.00 DRA (Deserved Run Average) in 2016, and worth 3.1 fWAR.
A good pitcher on a bad team is still an expensive pitcher.
#Rays not hearing what want for Archer much more likely to move Cobb or Smyly. Will see after Chapman/Jansen sign, what is offered on Colome— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 6, 2016
It makes sense for other teams to move forward by focusing on former-ace Alex Cobb, (who is essentially on a one-year/$4 million contract) and Drew Smyly (whose salary is testing the limits of what the Rays can afford) in this pitching-starved market.
The Rays have little incentive to sell Chris Archer, who is on a team friendly contract, when other expiring or expensive contracts exist on the roster.
Here's the calculus for Rays on Chris Archer: Would they get any more now than, say, two years from now? Probably not. Thus, tough to deal.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2016
You can watch newly minted Rays GM Erik Neander discuss Chris Archer’s trade interest in the video below. Neander appeared on MLB Network late last night and the host wasted no time jumping right into a discussion on Archer.
We get it, everyone would want Chris Archer on their team. And it’s for the same reasons the Rays are likely to keep him.
Now maybe this is all posturing.
Chris Archer is a great pitcher who lives and dies by the slider, a risky pitch for starters to throw, if you’re looking at historical data. The Rays already watched two starters struggle to return from Tommy John in recently traded Matt Moore and the nearly traded once before Alex Cobb.
All pitchers are ticking time bombs, it seems, but it’s hard to believe the Rays would sell high (if such a thing is possible in this increasingly savvy market) when they stand so much to gain at so low a financial burden in Archer.