Tampa Bay warmed to the idea of dealing Archer in the days leading up to the 2018 trade deadline. The Rays were asking a lot for the 29-year-old, but Pittsburgh was willing to meet the price.
The Pirates were likely motivated by the fact that Archer is one of the few elite pitchers available. He’s also under contact for three more seasons for $27.5 million, which is a bargain for a player of his stature.
The only problem is that Archer hasn’t had his strongest year in 2018. He started the season off poorly with a 6.61 ERA in April, but has since dropped this to 4.31. In 17 starts, he’s struck out 102 batters over 96 innings.
Archer has dealt with an abdominal muscle injury, missing five weeks as a result. However, he’s been pretty durable throughout his career and has made at least 32 starts from 2014-17.
Is Archer the Answer for Pittsburgh?
This deal certainly makes sense for the Pirates when considering that they’ve yet to fill the void left by their off-season trade of Gerrit Cole. Archer gives them a quality No. 1 or No. 2 starter who can potentially regain his form over the last two months of the season.
Another benefit for Pittsburgh is that they get an affordable starting pitcher. Archer will make $7.6 million next year, which is fairly low for a top-rotation starter. He also has options for $9 million in 2020 and $11 million in 2021, meaning the Pirates can continue getting this bargain for three seasons.
What did Pittsburgh have to Sacrifice?
While Archer can definitely help Pittsburgh win now, he doesn’t come at a cheap cost. Both Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows were top pitching prospects in the minor leagues. They’ve since graduated to the Majors and could become high-quality players in the future.
He has yet to develop a powerful swing, however, he does have a strong ability to hit both left-handed and right-handed pitchers. Plus, Tampa Bay can plug Meadows into their lineup right away.
Glasnow, 25, isn’t as far as Meadows in his development. But he has a nice mix of pitches and only needs to work on its command to be a good starter. If he gets the command down, then expect to see Glasnow in the Rays’ rotation by next season.
Rays and Pirates 2018 Odds
The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently chasing an NL Wild Card spot and have a chance at the postseason. Their GTBets odds of winning the World Series aren’t terrible at +6000. Pittsburgh’s hope is that adding a quality starter like Archer can propel them into the Wild Card round and beyond.
Tampa Bay is in rebuilding mode, as evidenced by their +80,000 odds of winning the World Series. Getting two good prospects like Meadows and Glasnow is a perfect return for their rebuilding efforts.