Archer, 29, is in the middle of the worst season of his career since he became a full-time starter in 2013. He currently has a 4.29 ERA in 15 starts, and he missed most of the month of June with an abdominal strain. It’s unclear at the moment which teams are showing interest.
In two starts since returning from that injury, Archer failed to complete five innings and gave up four earned runs. Rosenthal suggested that teams will be looking at how Archer performs in his final two starts before the July 31 deadline before deciding what they would offer the Rays in return.
For his part, Archer seems OK with whatever comes to pass. In a recent interview, he said all he is looking for is a chance “to experience winning.”
“If I’m going to be here, I want the process of not going to the playoffs to be expedited,” Archer said on Thursday. “I’ve seen the transition. I’m not saying I’m not happy, but I know that we are still transitioning. And the faster we can speed that up and get back to the 2008 through ’13, ’14 days, the better.”
The Rays haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 and last winter parted ways with veteran position players Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza Jr., among others, with the goal being to give younger players a bigger role. Archer’s name was also mentioned in trade rumours throughout the off-season but he remained with the Rays.
Entering play Friday the Rays were nine-and-a-half games out of the second wild card spot in the American League.
Archer’s contract is very team friendly, which means the Rays can be patient when weighing offers. He’s signed for three more years after this one and won’t make more than $8.25 million in any single season.
But while Archer’s contract is worth holding on to, the trade market doesn’t feature many starting pitchers this year. The Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ, the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer and the Rangers’ Cole Hamels are some of the starters who could be moved but the list isn’t much longer than that.
For that reason, Rosenthal called the trade market “almost ideal for the Rays to act,” and suggested that teams might be interested in acquiring Archer for multiple playoff runs before he becomes a free agent in 2022.
Archer next gets the ball Sunday against the Miami Marlins and then likely again on July 27 against the Baltimore Orioles. If he does well in those starts, the chatter around him heading into the deadline will only get louder.