Tampa Bay Rays Rumors: Inquiries Start on Longoria, Archer

May 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) talks with starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) during the first inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) talks with starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) during the first inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Rays may have changed their minds on trading Longoria and have received numerous inquires about Chris Archer among other starters.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com has been a busy man the past couple of days regarding the Tampa Bay Rays.

On Tuesday via Twitter, Morosi reported that the Rays would consider trading Evan Longoria to the Dodgers, specifically if the Dodgers are unable to re-sign Justin Turner.

Morosi followed that up on later in the day stating that the Atlanta Braves has spoken to the Rays about starting pitcher Chris Archer among other controllable starters.

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Matt Silverman, President of baseball Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays has numerous needs, which includes bullpen help, finding a suitable catcher and a left fielder.

Silverman told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times “when you win only 68 games, you’re open to everything.” However, that does not include Evan Longoria. Silverman also stated that the Rays would primarily rely on trades to fill the needs and not spend the money on free agents.

From an economical standpoint, trading Longoria does make sense as he is coming off a great season. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Tampa Bay Rays will owe Longoria over $100 million beginning in 2017 based on the contract extension he signed in 2012 and therefore remains under team control through 2023.

Another factor to take into consideration is that in the spring of 2018, Longoria becomes a 10-and-5 player, which would then give him the right to veto any trade.

The negative to trading Longoria would literally kill the franchise as attendance would be worse off than what it is now and there would be absolutely no hope or way of ever getting a new stadium.

I guess that even though Silverman remains firm on his stance that the Rays are uninterested in trading the face of the franchise, if the right deal comes along anything is possible. It would be hard to imagine what the Dodgers would give up to obtain Longoria, it is certainly not going to be Clayton Kershaw and the Rays do not need Yasiel Puig.

The Longoria to Dodgers rumors are nothing new, as at the trade deadline this past August had a potential deal supposedly in place. It did not come to fruition, as the Dodgers were unwilling to part with their top prospects, which was the Rays asking price despite Andrew Friedman’s connection to the Rays and Longoria.

I’m sure that Silverman certainly doesn’t want be included with Jay Feaster, former GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning who was almost forced to trading away Vincent Lecavalier the one-time face of the Lightning.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien writes that the Braves are among a number of teams are in need of starters, among other needs – but starting pitching is their top priority.

Atlanta is looking to add one to three starting pitchers, and their interest in Archer is based on a couple of factors, first of which is that he not only has a team friendly contract but that he is also under team control and does not become a free agent until 2022.

Atlanta GM John Coppolella at first was reluctant to making trades because the Braves were not ready to trade away some of their top prospects that they have acquired in recent years. Nevertheless, the lack of proven starters available through free agency is slim and those that are available would likely cost more than Archer would.

Over the next three seasons, Archer is guaranteed less than $20 million with two club options in the following two years that will pay him another $20 million. In essence, the next five years would cost Atlanta less than $40 million.

Despite having a down year 9-19 with a 4.02 ERA, Archer struck out 233 batters while walking just 67 in 201-1/3 innings though he did allow a career high 30 home runs. Coppolella is very aware of the price the Braves would have to pay for Archer, and the Rays are aware that the Braves have the prospects.

John Sickels at the start of the 2016 season ranked the Braves farm system second and at mid-season, ESPN’s Keith Law via the post for Insiders, ranked the majors Top 5 farm systems with the Atlanta Braves holding down the top spot.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Prospects That Could Make the 25-Man Roster

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As the Hot Stove season continues, Silverman will continue to listen for offers regarding Ray’s pitchers not only named Archer, but also for Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly and Alex Cobb all of whom are eligible for arbitration.