On July 31st, 2018, the Tampa Bay Rays struck a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates that sent starting pitcher Chris Archer to Pittsburg in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and a PTBNL who would end up being Shane Baz.
Just take that in for a moment.
At the time of the deal, many around the league considered it to be a head-scratching move by the Pirates, but almost no one could have predicted just how much of a highway robbery it would become for the Rays' management. Meadows and Glasnow have not been what they were projected to be, and Baz was a very young prospect.
In the offseason leading up to the 2018 season, the Pirates had traded away young ace Gerrit Cole and former MVP Andrew McCutchen as the team approached a long rebuild. After a painful start to the season, the Pirates went on a tear in July and found themselves within striking distance of a playoff spot. Instead of continuing with the youth movement and seeing how the team could continue to develop over time. they instead made major noise and acquired Archer.
Archer has been a bit of a hot topic for a few seasons. Archer had come in 3rd place for Rookie of the Year in 2013, received Cy Young votes and an All-Star bid in 2015, and another All-Star nod in 2017. In 96 innings with the Rays in 2018 though, Archer's ERA was 4.31 and his K/9 had fallen significantly. Many pointed to his advanced analytics being more favorable to the Rays starter, but at some point, the traditional metrics matter too.
This was not a slam dunk move by any means at the moment by the Rays though. Some loved the value that the Rays received for Archer, but others questioned whether or not gaining two high-risk prospects and a PTBNL would be worth the risk.
Let's look at how this deal panned out for both the Pirates and the Rays.