For every player in the World Baseball Classic, the time to return to their major league teams is inevitable. For Chris Archer, his time to rejoin the Tampa Bay Rays came sooner than most of his USA teammates.
On Sunday, Chris Archer tweeted that after his tournament-opening appearance in the World Baseball Classic, his time with Team USA has officially come to an end. Even after the United States advanced to the semifinals with their 6-3 victory over the Dominican Republic on Saturday, Archer will not rejoin the Americans.
I received a message this morning that I am no longer needed to pitch in the final round of the WBC. I will not be leaving camp as I thought
Archer opened the WBC against Colombia with a dominant pitcher’s duel against Jose Quintana. As his team was held to one hit and one run by Quintana, Archer pitched four perfect innings with three strikeouts.
Despite his obvious desire to make another appearance in the WBC, the decision to cut Archer was “out of [his] control,” according to ESPN. His comment and dominant performance against Colombia on March 10 begs the question:
Who is in control?
All roads seem to point toward Archer’s major league employer, the Tampa Bay Rays. Understandably, they allowed their ace to compete in the tournament under the condition of a limited workload.
“He had a situation with his organization,” U.S. manager Jim Leyland said (per tampabay.com). “If he got through four innings, that was going to be it. He was going to pitch four innings. So, we were hoping maybe he could have gone a little bit longer. I guess he could have, but once he got to four innings in, that was going to be it.”
Archer represents a key piece in the organization’s future, either as a trade piece or centerpiece. An injury in the tournament would not only harm his major league career, but also the Rays’ plans to regain contention.
However, Leyland’s plan moving forward in the tournament might have also led to Archer’s release. According to FOX Sports, Team USA plans to give the ball to Tanner Roark for the semifinal against Japan.
In his first appearance, Roark allowed three runs through 1.1 innings that eventually helped the Dominican Republic to a 7-5 victory over the United States.
If Roark can get the United States past Japan, more than likely Marcus Stroman will start the championship game. Although he struggled against Puerto Rico, Stroman held the Dominicans to three hits over 4.2 innings in his first start of the tournament.
I had an amazing time representing our country wish I could take the ball one more time but it’s out of my control. We’re in good hands tho!
Archer remains available to pitch in the WBC, making just one minor league appearance since his return to the Rays. However, the odds of him making another appearance for Team USA in the championship round are slim.