Tampa Bay Rays hurler Chris Archer seemed to be everywhere at the end of the week. (Photo Credit: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times)
Tampa Bay Rays hurler Chris Archer was everywhere by week’s end. (Photo Credit: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times)

Tampa Bay Rays right-handed hurler Chris Archer was everywhere by week’s end.

Archer to pitch for team USA in the World Baseball Classic

On Friday, Archer announced (via his Instagram account) that he had been invited to represent team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The upcoming World Baseball Classic will take place during Spring Training.

“We’ve got to spend more money”

Following his announcement, Archer took to the airwaves on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, and vocalized what many a frustrated Rays fan has felt for some time — “we’ve got to spend more money” in order to win. The irony, his words come at a time when trade rumors have started swirling around him, and other starters on the starting rotation (more on that below).

Archer later told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) he is confident he won’t be dealt, and wants to rouse the ownership and management to make some necessary improvements:

I have very, very good insight and feeling that I’m going to be a Ray for 2017. In order to have the most fun and for it to be most desirable for everybody, these are some of the things that we should do.

Archer suggested the ownership should spend wisely to fill their current needs (bullpen, catcher, leftfield/DH) with proven, established players on the free-agent market, as opposed to Matt Silverman’s initial plan to improve the team by way of trades:

I’m not saying we have to sign somebody for $30 mil; I’m saying let’s find the piece that fits and spend the money on it. We’re searching for these things, but a lot of them are right there in front of us. We have to be willing to stretch beyond what we’ve done here recently.

Archer rattled off two other things his bosses could/should do during the Hot-Stove period ahead of Spring Training.

One, they should stop talking about the “competitive disadvantage” they face, especially when they have advantages both in scouting and metrics based thinking.

I get it. We might not be capable of spending with the Yankees and Red Sox. But if we keep harping on it, then it permeates the minds of the players. And we don’t want the players to think that we’re at any competitive disadvantage.

Two, they should act as though they are committed to winning yearly, rather than gutting the team of key players at the trade deadline or the end of the season; comments that mirror those of the fanbase.

With all those moves, you’re unsure, like, are we trying to do this, are we rebuilding, are we in between? We’re looking at it just like the fans are. … Sometimes I think it’s in question.

It will be interesting to see how the front office responds to Archer’s comments.

The Hot-Stove is heating up

The Rays appear likely to trade at least one of its starting pitchers this off-season, reported Joel Sherman (New York Post) at the conclusion of the General Manager meetings.

Sherman tweeted that the likeliest candidates are Archer, Jake Odorizzi, or Drew Smyly, who is projected to make close to $7-million in arbitration this offseason.

Jon Morosi (FOX Sports) added that the Rays already have fielded calls on Archer from Atlanta, however, the Braves recently announced the signings of Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey. It remains unseen whether the Braves front office simply was kicking the tires on Tampa Bay’s de facto ace, or if something indeed is in the works.

Morosi also reported that Tampa Bay will listen to offers on Evan Longoria this winter, however, don’t expect any traction. While Longoria may never have higher trade value after coming off a revived season — in which he slashed .273 BA/.318 OBP/.521 SLG/.839 OPS/.350 wOBA/123 wRC+ with 41 doubles, 36 homers, and 98 RBI, over 160 games — indications are the team remains uninterested in dealing the face of the franchise, writes Topkin.

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