The Minnesota Twins are in the middle of trying to bolster their pitching staff this offseason. The question is which big-name starter should they pursue.
The Minnesota Twins are looking to build on a 2017 where they surprised all of baseball and made the playoffs when many expected the Twins to spend this offseason preparing for a top-5 pick in the 2018 draft. Instead, the Twins secured a Wild-Card spot and got to taste playoff baseball once again.
That has given fans a new vigor about the team and all rumors indicate that the front office is prepared to capitalize on a successful 2017. The most dominant rumor has been the Twins desire to add top free agent pitcher Yu Darvish to their rotation. Just behind that has been the rumor that the Twins are talking to teams about pitchers they could acquire via trade with Chris Archer being the biggest name mentioned.
So a question Twins fans are now asking is, “Sign Yu Darvish or trade for Chris Archer?” Which is better for this Twins team? Both pitchers would clearly bolster the Twins current rotation as they join Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios as a formidable trio. Each comes at a much different acquisition price.
As a free agent, Darvish will simply cost money. The money it would take to land Darvish would become a record-setting free agent contract for the Twins franchise as he is likely to land a five or six year deal in the neighborhood of $25 million per year or more. Archer is currently under contract for four years and at a reasonable cost starting at $6.4 million in 2018 and finishes out the last two seasons with team options. Archer’s four year deal is a very team friendly contract making some wonder if Archer’s contract is the most valuable part of a trade for the pitcher at this point.
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There might be some hidden worries with Archer the pitcher, which causes for a pause on considering a trade for him. Puckett’s Pond own Benjamin Chase took a good look at the downside of Archer in a post he did for Call to the Pen. A few highlights are that his bWAR and fWAR tell two very different stories of the type of pitcher Archer is. He has also increased his use of his slider over the years which could create some concerning results including a major elbow injury down the road.
Darvish doesn’t come without his own sets of concern. It has been well documented that Darvish struggled in the World Series this season and could have been tipping his pitches, something hopefully that is fixable. He has also already had his own set of elbow issues and has already been under the knife for Tommy John.
The price to acquire each of these pitchers also comes into part of the equation. Darvish is straight money. A lot of it, but just money. Archer will take prospects and a pretty good haul of them to acquire him. If the Tampa Bay Rays ask for fair value the Twins will have to part with one or multiple of the group of Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero, and Brent Rooker. If the Rays try to win the trade more prospects or a name like Nick Gordon might be brought up.
I use to be a huge supporter of an Archer trade for the Twins, even when it seemed highly unlikely that he was even available in a trade. The price to acquire Archer and some of the worries surrounding Archer’s ability to perform as a top-level ace has caused me to pivot. Archer would not be a bad get for the Twins, but I hope Darvish is truly the plan A this offseason. Where do you stand, Team Darvish or Team Archer?