Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Team has Checked on Chris Archer
The Pittsburgh Pirates are back into the thick of the National League Wild Card race. The team is looking into bringing in controllable starting pitching.
It has been rumored over the last few weeks that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking into controllable starting pitching. This morning it was reported by multiple media members that the team has had talks with the Baltimore Orioles about starter Kevin Gausman and reliever Mychal Givens. Well, apparently that is not the only American League East starter that the team has checked in on recently.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post and of the MLB Network, the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of a few teams that have looked into acquiring Tampa Bay Rays’ starter Chris Archer. Sherman tweeted:
"“1. Lots of teams still asking about Archer, my biggest surprise was to hear #Pirates have inquired. Also #Braves, #Padres. Belief that #Brewers, #Athletics and #Yankees also have touched base, at minimum.”"
This is something that has long been called for by many Pittsburgh Pirates fans and media members. The team indeed needs to be in on long term starting pitching that can help this year, but also immediately makes them a contender at the start of next season. While pitchers like Kevin Guasman could help this team, Archer is one of the big fish on the market. Archer is a proven top of the rotation type arm that likely will benefit from leaving the AL East and coming to pitcher-friendly PNC Park. He is a big-time strikeout pitcher having 102 in his 96 innings pitched. This is something the Pittsburgh Pirates lack in their rotation.
What makes Archer the most attractive though is that he has guaranteed control at a cheap price. Unlike other controllable assets like Michael Fulmer and Sonny Gray, who have rising arbitration costs, Archer is on a contract extension. He is owed just $7.66 million dollars next year and has club options for $8.25 million in 2019 and 2020. Think of it this way, Archer is actually making less money than Ivan Nova in those years. Meanwhile, he would slot into the teams a series their number one or two pitcher.
Of course, with a team friendly contract comes a higher asking price on the return. However, a prospect like Mitch Keller should not be part of the ask. Archer is solid, but at the end of the day is having a down year. Also, he is not an ace like many view him. A guy like Keller should only be included in deals for top tier pitchers like Jacob DeGrom or like Boston included in a deal for Chris Sale a few years ago. Archer is not in that tier of pitchers. A deal built around one of the Pittsburgh Pirates top infield prospects should suffice. Regardless, it could just be that the Pittsburgh Pirates checked in and nothing more. Either way, it seems the Pittsburgh Pirates are doing their homework to add a starting pitcher.
UPDATE 3:40 PM: Jon Heyman also tweets that the Pittsburgh Pirates are indeed in on Chris Archer. He also stated that they are not as in on Kevin Gausman as many thought.