The Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres could agree on a Chris Archer trade as the two sides match up well in a potential deal.
The Padres require an ace. Require may be a strong word, but San Diego does need help in their rotation.
Chris Archer may not be an ace in the traditional sense, but he has shown an ability to eat innings and could be made available for the right price. A.J. Preller has also shown interest in the right-handed pitcher before he was dealt to the Pirates by the Rays in July of 2018. There seems to be a plausible reason to believe the two sides could agree on a trade.
Pittsburg paid a considerable price for Archer in Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows. Each player blossomed in Tampa Bay, but the return for the Pirates on Archer has not been as favorable. The pitcher has gone 6-12 for the Pirates and recorded a 4.92 ERA and a 1.395 WHIP in 173 innings pitched, and 33 games started for the team. The fan base is not happy with his performance, and perhaps a change of scenery can unlock the numbers he once produced regularly.
From 2015-2017, the native of North Carolina was an AL All-Star twice and pitched 200 plus innings for three consecutive years. The pitcher also struck out 230 plus batters in each of those seasons, finishing among the league leaders in strikeouts. Chris Archer, at one time, performed like a top-of-the-order pitcher who could be counted on in your rotation. Something that the Padres currently covet.
The Padres were linked to Starling Marte last month as the Winter Meetings took place in San Diego. The Pirates outfielder may have been of interest to the Padres in the past. However, the team has since added Tommy Pham to their roster. Marte is capable of playing centerfield, so it’s conceivable the Padres may still have an interest to some extent in the speedy Dominican outfielder. Marte would be an upgrade for the Padres, but the primary concern of the team seems to stem around the addition of a top pitcher.
Archer is due $9 million this season and has a team option for $11 million (or $750,000 buyout) in 2021. The Pirates certainly enjoy the fact that he is under team control for the next two years at a very reasonable rate. They would not be inclined to move him for pennies on the dollar despite his poor performance in the City of Bridges.
San Diego has depth in the minor leagues and also has several young pitchers ready for major league action. The Pirates could easily be persuaded to make a deal if the Padres include the correct formulation of names. At this point, Archer’s value is arguably its highest right now. Even if he starts to pitch better for Pittsburgh, he is 22 months away from free agency, and the clock is ticking.
Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies, Joey Lucchesi, and Garrett Richards currently make up the Padres rotation. Cal Quantrill, Ronald Bolanos, Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon, and even MacKenzie Gore will factor in to some extent in 2020. In time, more names could be relevant as well. The team has depth but is missing players who will eat innings and provide relief for the bullpen. Preller and his staff have fortified the bullpen this winter, but you can be sure they do not want to go through what they did last season as the starting pitchers could not get through six innings in a game consistently.
We know Preller admires Archer and the fiery personality he brings to the team. The Padres will need to make more deals shortly as the roster is full of talent that needs a re-shifting of some sort. Keep tabs on this as pitchers and catchers are only weeks away from reporting to Arizona. Chris Archer may not be the proverbial ace that the Padres’ fanbase is commanding, but he could be very serviceable for this young team.