Chris Archer Trade Rumors: Rays Receiving 'Significant Interest' in Ace

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2018

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 14, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline quickly approaching, the Tampa Bay Rays will have a decision to make on ace Chris Archer.

Ken Rosenthal of MLB on Fox reported on Saturday that Archer is drawing "significant interest" on the trade market:


What needs to happen for the Rays to trade ace Chris Archer? @Ken_Rosenthal explains https://t.co/8sI0tpynhM

The 29-year-old right-hander figures to be one of the top starting pitchers available at this year's deadline.

Archer has a career earned run average of 3.68 and a 1.227 WHIP in seven years in the big leagues. Entering 2018, he had piled up 32-plus starts and 194-plus innings in four straight years. Not only that, but he is under club control through the 2021 season and is owed no more than $8.25 million at any point in his current contract.

When he's on top of his game, that's an absolute bargain.

However, it's been a tough year for him. He is 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA and a 1.381 WHIP in 15 starts, striking out 86 batters in 84 innings. His hits per nine innings (9.3) are up, his walks per nine are up (3.1) and his strikeouts per nine (9.2) are down. At his current pace, his earned run average will increase for the fourth consecutive campaign.

Then again, he missed more than a month recently because of an abdominal strain. He has allowed four earned runs in his first two outings back, spanning 7.2 innings. His last outing saw him strike out seven in 4.1 innings of work.

Trading Archer would be the latest part of the rebuild process for Tampa Bay. This past offseason, the team got rid of third baseman Evan Longoria, closer Brad Boxberger, outfielder Corey Dickerson and pitcher Jake Odorizzi, with the first three being former All-Stars.

At 49-48, the Rays are already 19 games back in the American League East and 9.5 back in the wild-card race. They could further the rebuild process by conducting a bidding war, but if they don't get blown away by an offer, they can always hold on to the right-hander for a reasonable price.