Rays right-hander Chris Archer says he does not expect he’ll be traded this winter, according to a report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Per Archer, Tampa Bay GM Neander has “made me feel pretty good about being with the Rays in 2018.”
Sporadic chatter regarding Archer’s potential trade candidacy has been ongoing for years and has reportedly continued into the new year. He has been healthy and productive ever since breaking into the league, even if his bottom-line results (4.07 ERA in 2017) haven’t always been quite as impressive as his peripherals might suggest.
Better still, the 29-year-old’s contract includes four more seasons of cheap control, which helps explain his broad appeal. (Scroll back through his mentions on MLBTR and you’ll find a wide variety of teams linked in some way.) That same factor, though, also means the Rays don’t yet face pressure to cash in their best trade asset.
Though Archer was said to be a point of focus entering the Winter Meetings, no real momentum has seemed to form towards a deal. That could always change, of course; it’s not all that difficult to imagine a team deciding to up its offer for Archer and engage in a dedicated pursuit. Indeed, the resolution of the biggest free-agent pitching situations could tell on the matter, as Topkin points out.
While it doesn’t sound as if Archer has been given any assurances, though, it remains notable that he has been given such a strong indication from Neander and the Tampa Bay front office. The club already dealt away franchise face Evan Longoria, so it’s obvious that nothing is bolted down permanently. But that move did not mandate a broader rebuild. And there’s no real reason for the organization to mis-lead Archer about its intentions.
All things considered, the status quo largely remains intact. But we can perhaps say with some added confidence that the Rays will not simply be putting Archer up for auction and taking the best bid this winter. Any team that hopes to pry him loose will surely need to come with a big offer.
Of course, the team does still have other trade candidates worth keeping an eye on — including rotation-mate Jake Odorizzi. It seems reasonable to anticipate some significant action from the Rays over the coming weeks, though a variety of paths still remain open.