Rays right-hander Chris Archer may come up frequently in trade rumors this offseason, but general manager Erik Neander suggested Sunday that he plans to keep the 29-year-old. Neander told MLB Network Radio that Archer “is one of our core guys” and “exactly the type of player” the Rays need to retain if they’re going to compete in the future (Twitter link). Archer, who’s signed to one of the majors’ most team-friendly contracts, will make a combined $13.75MM over the next two seasons. After that, Archer’s employer will have a chance to control him through 2021 via ultra-affordable club options ($9MM and $11MM).
- The Red Sox are hiring Craig Bjornson as their bullpen coach, according to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. He’ll take over for Dana Levangie, whom the team promoted to pitching coach this week. Bjornson was with the Astros from 2012-17 and spent some of that time as their bullpen coach. He was on the same staff last season as new Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was the Astros’ bench coach during their World Series-winning campaign.
- The Cubs and Tigers still haven’t finalized the trade they made in July that saw reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila head to Chicago for third baseman Jeimer Candelario, infielder Isaac Paredes and a player to be named later or cash, Mark Anderson of Baseball Prospectus tweets. It turns out the Tigers will receive the PTBNL in lieu of cash, but the teams haven’t decided on which player yet.
- Mike Petriello of MLB.com breaks down the most appealing free agents available based on Statcast metrics xwOBA, Sprint Speed and Outs Above Average. Going by xwOBA, right fielder J.D. Martinez stands out on the offensive side; righties Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta bring the best track records among starters, while Pat Neshek is the top reliever. The OAA crown goes to Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who falls just shy of fellow outfielder Rajai Davis in the battle for fastest runner on the market. Petriello also suggests that, based on Statcast data, outfielder Hyun Soo Kim and a trio of righties – Tyler Chatwood, Anibal Sanchez and Tyson Ross – could end up as good buy-low signings.