ESPN ran an article this morning pointing to Rays ace Chris Archer as the most untouchable player on Tampa Bay’s roster. Is that true?
Now granted, he hasn’t pitched like an ace consistently in his two seasons anchoring the rotation, but he is undeniably one of the Rays best assets. His talent, his leadership, his team friendly contract, his ability to be a face of the franchise and a cause for good.
Any team would envy having Chris Archer, and he’s the exact sort of player the Rays would target in a deal to acquire. So is he untouchable for the rebuilding Rays? We’ve already seen these rumors before...
The Rays believe there are roughly eight teams with strong enough farm systems to put together a package for right-hander Chris Archer in advance of the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal [MLBTR]
... and the Rangers and Dodgers appear to be among teams asking for Archer. Separately Marc Topkin in his writing has not shut the rumors down, which he typically would. Unfortunately, that’s because I believe the rumors to be true.
Chris Archer is very much available, because even if the offers the Rays have received are laughable, and even if he is exactly the sort of player the Rays should (and are still currently) building around, everyone has their price.
This trade deadline is barren of quality starting pitching, which has led to every Rays starter’s name being implicated in trade rumors.
The publicly silent Rays would likely find it advantageous to disrupt the market by adding Archer’s name to the fray, even if it made a swap for Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore, or Erasmo Ramirez seem more palatable.
But the truth is that there really are a good number of teams who could land Chris Archer’s high trade value, as perceived by the Rays.
Mid-season is likely not going to be the time a deal gets done - unless a GM wants to go full Kevin Towers - but the seeds can be sown for an off-season deal where such monster trades get put together.
And at a minimum, floating Archer’s name also gives an idea as to what other teams are willing to give in general, or for what the price on the market for great pitching appears to be (hello, Aroldis Chapman).
So is Chris Archer untouchable? No, not by any means.
Heard from another executive today that "untouchable" wouldn't describe Rays' stance on Chris Archer. Listening. But want a "huge" return.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 21, 2016
Expensive? Yes. Untouchable? No. Would I have trouble continuing rooting for this team? Most undoubtedly, but everyone has their price.
Chris Archer faces the Dodgers tonight in California.