By 4:00 PM Tuesday the 2018 non-waiver deadline will pass, and with it we likely will see an ebb and flow of players from the 25-man roster. We all have become a little too well acquainted with the trade rumors circulating around right-hander Chris Archer, who is the best remaining pitcher on the market. That phrasing is important.
12 teams are interested in Archer — Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Padres, Yankees, Athletics, Astros, Brewers, Phillies, Pirates (and a couple more) — and have been tasked with submitting their final offers, which will be poured over ahead of the 4:00 deadline. Given Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom’s mindset, interested teams must be willing to approach the Rays with a quality package for the right-hander. Otherwise, Archer will still be in the rotation come Wednesday.
Tampa Bay is reportedly seeking a hefty price, with discussion about building a package around two young big league (or close) players, and more. It is believed a catcher and a power hitting outfielder would address the void in the core of young talent they already have assembled.
If you think this approach resembles an episode of “Let’s Make a Deal,” you’re probably not far off. I digress.
Exactly who is bidding on Archer, and how much they are willing to part with, are unknown, but expect teams like the Braves, Padres and Brewers to remain in the mix right down to the deadline.
Danny Russell put together an excellent primer on the subject, which you can read over at DRaysBay.
For his part, Archer has been calm throughout the trade deadline season, though he conceded one unsettling aspect of his situation comes from the fact that “it’s out of my control.”
That’s the strangest part, Archer said. That’s why this situation is unsettling, because everything else is pretty much in our control.
I’ve got the baseball in my hand. And now my career is not in my hands. That’s fine, that’s the business part of it. But that’s why it’s unsettling.
It should be remembered that team executives are under no obligation to deal Archer. In the remaining hours, ahead of the deadline, the Rays may decide to gamble and wait until the off-season, or even until next July.
As Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) put it, it could work if Archer either pitches well enough to increase his value, or they can up the ante by including more teams, including some not positioned to bid now, in the discussion.
Rays manager Kevin Cash appears to be in favor of the latter, saying,
I know there’s a lot of players and one that everyone is going to talk about right now. And we’re at the mercy of what the front office decides and the industry decides. Chris Archer has done some good things for us and he’s proven that he can be a very good starting pitcher in the American League. And I know his season hasn’t gone the way he wants, but you hate to lose a guy when there are a lot of things looking upward.
And Chris, in theory, should be a big part of that.
19 hours to deadline, hearing #Rays, no surprise, are engaged on multiple fronts (Archer, Hechavarria, Ramos, Romo are good guesses) and that a lot is fluid.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 31, 2018
Others players could still be traded too, like Wilson Ramos (who is on the DL with a left hamstring injury), SS Adeiny Hechavarria and RHP Sergio Romo.