According to an article written by Ken Rosenthal for The Athletic, the San Diego Padres are making a ‘big push’ to land Chris Archer.
Later on in the same article, Rosenthal writes that even though the Padres are attempting to land Archer, it appears to be a long shot for a variety of reasons, noting:
Archer, a potential ace who is under club control at below-market salaries for this season and three more, is precisely the kind of pitcher the Padres figure to target and Rays figure to trade. The only question, in both cases, is when.
We already know several teams have been vying for the Rays 29-year old pitcher, who is still under team control for a few more years. Calls were easy to rebuff when the Rays ace’s valuation was sky high, but with Archer in a performance lull (he has a career-high 4.30 ERA), a trade seems just as unlikely.
But now, a new team has thrown its name into the mix that has top-prospects in spades, something in contrast to the majority of playoff contending teams in baseball.
The Padres have been active already this year on the trade market, but more as sellers rather than buyers, as they traded away Brad Hand and Adam Cimber during the All-Star break. A move for Archer would be a play for the future, something that could come into focus quickly in southern California.
San Diego’s farm system, which was already arguably the best in all of baseball, recently added catcher Francisco Mejia, causing them to now feature 10 of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects:
2 - Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
19 - MacKenzie Gore, LHP
23 - Adrian Morejon, LHP
24 - Francisco Mejia, C/OF
32 - Luis Urias, INF
62 - Chris Paddack, RHP
74 - Logan Allen, LHP
77 - Michel Baez, RHP
92 - Cal Quantrill, RHP
93 - Josh Naylor, 1B
The Rays are more likely focused on moving veterans on expiring deals (such as Hechevarria, Ramos, Eovaldi, Romo, and Gomez), but could they now be leaning towards dealing Chris Archer?
Sure, the Rays are at an awkward point in their franchise timeline as their young prospects are starting to transition to the majors. In anticipation of the 40-man roster crunch that causes, the Rays have moved a number of their veterans, including those who are still under contract for at least a few more seasons (as we’ve seen with Brad Miller, Corey Dickerson, Evan Longoria, and Alex Colome in the past seven months).
Couple the Padres interest with Archer’s first public comments on his desire to be on a team competing or near the playoffs, and Tampa Bay’s timeline for moving their ace could be escalating. Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
“I turn 30 in a couple months,’’ Archer said. “I want to play the game for 10 more years, but there’s nothing guaranteed in life. I want to experience winning.’’