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View from the catwalk: On a possible Chris Archer trade

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The beat reporters disagree.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest article today is a column from Marc Topkin, built off a candid interview with Chris Archer, in which Topkin concludes that it’s time for the Rays to trade Archer.

First off, yes, a Chris Archer trade is absolutely on the table, and would be a surprise to no one involved, while at the same time it’s totally possible that the Rays don’t trade Archer this year. But there are certain framings here that I’d like to push back against.

  1. Archer is not asking for a trade. He’s demonstrating that he well-understands the Rays position and his own.
  2. The time frame for contention that the Rays are aiming for in this rebuild can conceivably include years where Archer still pitches in Tampa Bay.
  3. How about a quick study of Topkin’s language?

Should they take advantage of their perennially team-friendly contract terms to keep him around (just $27.5 million total for the next three seasons), to provide the innings that he does and share the experiences that he has had and be the leader that he thinks he can be?

Maybe I’m reading into it, but is that “thinks he can be” a dig? It’s definitely a choice.

There have been times this year when it seems he has been frustrated. Questions have been raised if he has been less driven or is just being more cautious about his long-term health. More than one opposing team official watching him pitch has asked if he was looking to get traded.

Questions have been raised by who? Are these mysterious questions the “more than one opposing team official?” What does “looking to get traded” mean? Come on now, Topper. I seem to recall Archer pitching through one injury, and then going on the disabled list with another. Does that sound like someone being overly cautious?

The Rays aren’t going to get as much for Archer as they would have a couple of years ago, but that always has been the risk as they operate with a sliding scale.

Yeah, this is what happens when you let players play. Their years of control goes down, and their contracts are worth less and less. I bet we could get a huge package if we traded Wander Franco now.

But Archer, he should be going, somewhere.

Okay.

Compare this to Bill Chastain, who is beating a different drum. First he writes that the Rays are in a holding pattern regarding trades, waiting for the wild card race to go one way or the other. Then, he also talked to Archer regarding the approaching trade deadline:

“Once July 31 passes, I finally can exhale,” Archer said. “Because it’s crazy out there and we have a few commodities that are wanted around the league. So when that’s over, a few guys in this room, including myself, will be able to exhale and settle in and continue to play baseball.”

Does that sound to me like a player itching to be traded?

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