On the surface, it might be easy to dismiss Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer as a very appealing trade candidate. But, as always, you need to dig deeper than the surface.
According to MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi, the Phillies have scouted and have interest in the two-time All-Star:
But for several reasons, a deal involving Archer is more likely now than at any point in recent memory. Most importantly, there is strong interest in the right-hander throughout the Major Leagues. One source told MLB.com that as many as eight teams have contacted the Rays about Archer recently.
The D-backs, Cubs, Padres and Phillies are among the teams interested in Archer, and all of them had scouts in attendance for Archer’s season-high 13-strikeout performance on Sunday.
Archer, 29, is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 16 starts this season. However, his 3.50 FIP suggests that he’s dealt with poor fielding behind him and has had a much better season than you would initially be led to believe. His .347 opponent’s BABIP (which is 47 points higher than his career average) also makes you think he’s been unlucky. A similar trend presented itself last year for Archer, as he was 10-12 with a 4.07 ERA, which would lead more traditional observers to think he had a down season. But his 3.40 FIP and 4.6 fWAR suggest he was actually quite good in 2017.
There may be a belief around the league that a change of scenery would benefit Archer, and striking out 13 Miami Marlins in front of a slew of scouts isn’t a bad way to pique the interest of potential suitors.
It’s unclear what it would take to acquire Archer, making it hard to evaluate his fit in Philadelphia. However, if the Phillies were able to land Archer, he has one of the more team-friendly contracts in baseball history. He’s making just $6.25 million in 2018, before seeing a slight increase to $7.5 million in 2019. Archer’s contract also includes very affordable $8.25 million options for 2020 and 2021. With how little (little in a relative sense) Archer makes regularly, the Phillies (or any other team that would land Archer), wouldn’t need him to perform like a No. 1 starter. He’s done that for stretches of his career, but he’s really only paid like a No. 3 or No. 4 starter.
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