TODAY: Archer has been officially activated, as per a team announcement. Right-hander Clay Holmes was optioned to Triple-A to create room on the 25-man roster.
Archer has been been on the IL with right thumb inflammation since April 27, the day after he turned in his lone horrid start of the season in a loss to the Dodgers. In all, the 30-year-old has notched 27 innings of 4.33 ERA/4.80 FIP ball with four walks per nine, a 32.4 percent groundball rate and a 15.2 percent home run-to-fly ball rate.
Nearly all of Archer’s 2019 numbers rank as personal worsts, and despite an impressive ability to fan hitters (9.67 K/9 this season, 9.73 career), he has fallen somewhat short in the run prevention department in recent years. Archer hasn’t managed a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015, the last season of an excellent three-year stretch, though he was still worth between 2.6 and 5.1 fWAR in each of the previous five campaigns.
Although Archer has looked more like a mid-rotation starter than an ace of late, the Pirates still surrendered a boatload to acquire him and his team-friendly contract from the Rays last July. Pittsburgh gave up a young tandem consisting of righty Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows, both of whom failed to live up to their high-end prospect billing with the team but now look like blossoming stars in Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the gamble didn’t pay off in the form of a playoff berth for the Pirates last year, and though the Bucs are off to a 19-17 start this season, they’ll have trouble overtaking the Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals in the National League Central.