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Chris Archer Rumors
Chris Archer's new six-year extension with the Rays represents an indication that the league will continue its overall good health over the coming years, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. With plenty of money to keep both owners and players happy, Rosenthal opines that the coming expiration of the CBA (following the 2016 season) should not result in a work stoppage. Here are more notes on Archer's extension.
- Rosenthal also offers that players should, perhaps, be doing better. He takes a look at the agencies that have agreed to extensions like Archer's, noting that pre-arbitration deals with multiple options are almost exclusively the domain of small- or mid-level outfits. (SFX/Relativity was the only larger agency to enter such a deal since 2000, with five to its credit.) With smaller firms concerned about losing clients, the union as a whole must exercise diligence in avoiding a loss of bargaining power as against ownership.
- Archer's contract bears a strong resemblance to Jose Quintana's deal with the White Sox, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes. This isn't the first time two players have received very similar extensions — as MLBTR's Steve Adams noted this morning, Jason Kipnis' new deal mirrors Matt Carpenter's, which mirrors Andrew McCutchen's, which mirrors Jay Bruce's and Justin Upton's. Cameron also points out that the Archer extension reflects the reality of pitcher attrition — pre-free-agency extensions make sense for pitchers, even very promising pitchers, in part because their careers are so uncertain. Meanwhile, deals like Archer's are cheap enough that teams can absorb that risk.
- Archer is only the fourth player to whom the Rays have given a contract worth over $20MM total, R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus points out (subscription-only). Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and Scott Kazmir are the others. Kazmir, of course, enjoyed a terrific comeback season with Cleveland in 2013, but Anderson writes that his case illustrates the pitfalls of signing a young pitcher like Archer long term.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
THURSDAY: If Archer does not reach Super Two status, he is guaranteed $20MM, MLBTR has learned. In that instance, he would receive a $1MM signing bonus, $500K in 2014, $1MM in 2015, $1MM in 2016, $3MM in 2017, $4.75MM in 2018 and $7MM in 2019. The option years and buyouts would not change, regardless of his Super Two status. Either way, the guarantee is still the largest ever for a player with less than one year of service time.
WEDNESDAY: The Rays have established themselves as annual contenders by extending young players early in their Major League careers, and the next such case presented itself today as the team has announced a six-year contract for right-hander Chris Archer. Archer's deal buys out all of his pre-arbitration and arbitration years, and will be worth $25.5MM if he achieves Super Two status but less if he does not (Super Two seems highly likely for Archer, who entered the year with 156 days of service). The contract also also contains a pair of club options that can push the value of the deal to $43.75MM over eight years. The Relativity Baseball client also reportedly receives a $500K bonus if he is traded during this contract.
Assuming he reaches that Super Two status, Archer will receive a $1MM signing bonus and a $500K salary in 2014, $1MM in 2015, $2.75MM in 2016, $4.75MM in 2017, $6.25MM in 2018 and $7.5MM in 2019. The Rays can buy out Archer's 2020 option for $1.75MM.
Archer, 25, broke out with the Rays in 2013 with a strong performance that netted him a third-place finish in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. The North Carolina native posted a 3.22 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent ground-ball rate in 128 2/3 innings for the Rays, cementing himself as a member of the team's rotation. He averaged a blistering 95 mph on his fastball, which could eventually help him reach the his minor league levels of striking out a batter per inning. Perhaps most important for the Rays was Archer's improved command; he had averaged five walks per nine innings in his minor league career.
Archer's new deal is the largest ever for a player with less than one year of service time, eclipsing the six-year, $17.5MM extension and the five-year, $14MM extension signed by his own teammates Evan Longoria and Matt Moore, respectively.
The Rays originally acquired Archer from the Cubs along with Hak-Ju Lee, Sam Fuld, Brandon Guyer and Robinson Chirinos in exchange for Matt Garza, Fernando Perez and Zac Rosscup. That was actually the second trade of Archer's career though, as he was first drafted by the Indians and sent to Chicago along with John Gaub and Jeff Stevens to acquire Mark DeRosa back in 2008.
Archer was already under team control through the 2019 campaign, but this new contract will give the Rays options that run through the 2021 season, meaning the Rays haven't actually guaranteed any free-agent seasons with the deal. However, they will obtain cost certainty and two optional years of control, making it worthwhile risk for the team. From Archer's standpoint, he acquires financial security for a lifetime, sets a service time record and would hit the open market at age 33 if both options are eventually exercised.
For the 2014 season, Archer will join Moore, David Price, Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi/Jeremy Hellickson in the rotation (Hellickson is currently on the disabled list). While Price's long-term future with the club is in doubt, the Rays will now control Archer, Moore and Odorizzi through at least the 2019 season, with Cobb under control through 2017 via arbitration. Hellickson is controlled through 2016.
The Rays alerted the media that an announcement would be coming this morning, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the six-year agreement, noting that it was in the $25MM range (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports pegged the exact value (via Twitter), while Yahoo's Jeff Passan added the trade bonus. Passan and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick added details approximating the value of the option years, and Passan noted the Super Two technicality as well. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the year-to-year breakdown (via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images.
The Rays officially announced their six-year, $25.5MM extension with Chris Archer in a press conference today. The right-hander told reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Chastain) that the recent spate of pitching injuries around baseball influenced his decision to sign the contract. "I don't know if all the injuries — the head injuries, the concussions, the elbow injuries, some shoulder injuries — that have happened of late, I don't know if they've happened as a sign for me, but I took them as a sign for me, a sign of what's unknown," Archer said. "I sat down with my financial advisor. With this contract, I'm financially secure multiple times over again, through many generations. For me, that's all I ever wanted out of this game — to be personally secure and have my family members secure as well."
Here's some more from around the AL East…
- Alex Cobb and Wil Myers would seem to be the next logical extension candidates for the Rays, MLB.com's Adam Berry writes. Cobb said he would "plead the fifth" when asked if he'd been approached by the team about a multiyear deal, while Myers said that he's just focused on playing and will let his agent handle any contractual business. Berry's piece also contains several quotes from Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman about his team's strategy of locking up its young stars.
- The Rays have had nine players suspended for PED usage and 14 players suspended for drug-related offenses overall since 2012 , Baseball Prospectus' Ben Lindbergh notes. Tampa Bay leads all teams in both categories, and the recently-suspended Alex Colome is the only the latest of several of the Rays' top prospects to be hit with a suspension. Lindbergh, however, believes this current spate of issues is only a matter of "chance," as the franchise doesn't have a glaring suspension record before 2012.
- The Mets haven't discussed making a move for Eduardo Nunez, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets, and it's "too early to say if they will have interest" in signing the infielder to bolster their shortstop depth. The Yankees designated Nunez for assignment yesterday.
- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star) that he isn't looking for external shortstop help with Jose Reyes on the DL. Jonathan Diaz is currently filling in at short, and Anthopoulos doesn't think Reyes' injury will keep him out for too long.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required) doesn't think the Blue Jays will contend this season and the club should deal some top stars in order to restock the farm system. Edwin Encarnacion headlines Bowden's list of Toronto's ten best trade candidates, which also includes possible trade suitors.
- In other AL East news, we posted a collection of Red Sox Notes earlier tonight.