Sep 23, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Report: Atlanta Braves making inquiries about controllable starters. Is this a change of plan or a feint?
Over the past several days, we have reviewed a number of items as General Manager meetings were set to begin, particularly related to the messages coming from the Atlanta Braves regarding the acquisition of pitching:
John Coppolella is looking for “2 to 3” starting pitchers, and not back-end talents.
His priority is for free agents first, strongly preferring 1 year deals; 2 years for players they like a lot.
However, it doesn’t take a baseball genius to recognize that the market is … soft … for fulfilling those plans. It might even make one wonder if perhaps a slight change in those plans could improve the Braves’ rotation much more significantly.
Well, that’s part of the thinking that could be at work here:
There’s a lot being said in Morosi’s tweet… and a lot unsaid as well.
“Spoken to” – That could be an innocent “do you think you might be inclined to trade him?” or something a lot more interesting like “I’d like to offer you X, Y, Z, and a couple of Greek letters for Archer”. We don’t know which.
“other controllable starters” – We don’t know if this means “other pitchers on the Tampa Bay Rays roster” (Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly) or other starters on other teams. I would lean toward “Rays only” for right now.
“other controllable starters” – We also don’t know if this means something in excess of the 1-2 years of control that Coppy wanted (Cobb and Smyly both fit this criterion) or more years (Archer, Odorizzi, Snell). Generally, when that ‘controllable’ word is used, is means something more than 1-2 years.
Sep 20, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) singles during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Pulling the Reins Back
I would not personally put Archer’s name in the front of this tweet at this point in the process. Sure, his name probably came up, but is doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the legitimate asking price for him would be beyond imagination… and here’s why:
Ridiculously team-friendly contract (better than Teheran’s): $4.9m, $6.4m, $7.6m, $9m, $11m – with the latter pair of years (2020-2021) being team options.
ERA+ averaging over 110 since 2013… though he was merely mortal in 2016 (101).
3rd in 2013 Rookie of the Year balloting; All-Star and 5th place in Cy Young voting for 2015.
Averages 3.51 career ERA with a 3.4:1 K/BB ratio… in the AL East.