As soon as news of Chris Archer becoming a free agent was circulated, so were rumors of a return to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Social media was buzzing with the news of the Pittsburgh Pirates declining their $11 million option on Archer, and speculation as to where the ex-pitcher may end up. It came as no surprise that the Pirates preferred to pay a $250,000 buyout rather than stick with Archer.
Since the pitcher joining the Pirates in July 2018 as part of a trade with the Rays, Archer has been disappointing. Furthermore, he was shut down before the truncated season started due to surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). Since 2015, Archer’s ERA has crept up and his 2019 season saw it rise to 5.19 from 119.2 IP.
Whether the Rays would be interested in bringing Archer back would be another matter entirely. With Charlie Morton becoming a free agent, the Rays have a spot in the starting pitcher rotation. Archer’s numbers and recovery from TOS surgery could make it a risky move.
According to Spotrac, Archer has missed 125 days since joining the Pirates. The surgery could have remedied the issues causing the loss time, but it has been over 12 months since Archer pitched so his arm may need some time before regaining full control over his pitches in pressure situations.
If the Rays were to get a rejuvenated Archer into rotation then it may be an attractive prospect. It would be interesting to see Archer and Tyler Glasnow together. Glasnow was part of the trade that saw Archer move to the Pirates; Austin Meadows and Shane Baz were the other two players who joined the Rays.
It is safe to assume that if Archer does rejoin the Rays, his earning potential will be far less than at the Pirates. At this point, a move for Archer seems unlikely but anything is possible!