Minnesota Twins Low-Risk Target No. 1: Chris Archer, RHP
2017 feels like forever ago, but I bet it feels like even longer for Chris Archer. That’s the last time the former Rays ace was an All-Star before he was traded away to the Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star. Archer was shipped away for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz in one of the most lopsided trades in recent memory.
Archer was an absolute disaster in Pittsburgh, going 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA over 172 innings. To top it all off injuries were a major issue to match with the ineffectiveness, as he struggled to stay healthy throughout his time there and missed all of 2020 to relieve symptoms of neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome.
While this doesn’t sound like a pitcher you’d want on your team, it’s hard not to think about the upside. Archer is still just 32, which is right in his prime as a pitcher, and he would be very cheap (somewhere in the $7-$12 million dollar range). If the Twins can get even half of his Tampa Bay production, that’s a HUGE steal.
He put up very good strikeout numbers in Pittsburgh, even with the injuries, and some of his underlying metrics suggest he’s not that bad. In addition, leaving Pittsburgh, which is trying to rebuild its clubhouse and organization would be very helpful for Archer, a pitcher who hasn’t gotten the opportunity to play for a division winner yet.
Finally, Archer has always had a lot of talent, and if there is anyone who can unlock that ability, it’s Wes Johnson. We’ve talked a lot about Johnson’s work with pitchers, but we’ve never seen what he can do with someone who used to be an ace. There’s a lot of possible reward for someone the Twins could get for a low price and commitment.
We know the Twins have had interest in Archer in the past, as they tried to trade for him when the Rays made him available, so it would make sense for them to make a move for him now. Don’t be surprised if the Twins nab him on a one year deal and add a talented, high upside arm to their rotation.