Washington Nationals: Chris Archer a perfect trade target
By Drew Douglas
The Washington Nationals have been rumored to be considering Chris Archer to fill their rotation need. Although it may not be realistic, he is a perfect fit.
Despite the fact that the Washington Nationals theoretically do not need to make a move to acquire a starting pitcher this off-season, it is very likely that they do. A.J. Cole and Erick Fedde are their top in-house options to fill out the rotation, but neither appear quite ready to take on a full-time major league role yet.
Considering the exorbitant asking prices from some of the free agent starting pitchers, namely Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, the Nats’ best option may be to acquire a starting pitcher via trade.
If the Nats do elect to acquire a starting pitcher via trade, Chris Archer is a perfect candidate. The Rays are reportedly considering beginning a rebuild, so Archer could be on the move this off-season.
Archer, a 29-year-old ace, has put together a magnificent six-year career so far and has established himself as one of the game’s best starting pitchers. Throughout his career, he has pitched to a 3.63 ERA and could just now be entering his prime.
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If the Nats acquire Archer, he would likely become their third starter, behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. If the Nats plug Archer, who has long served as the Rays’ ace, into the third spot in the rotation, they would arguably have the best rotation in the league.
In addition to pitching well, Archer is extremely durable. He has never been placed on the disabled list, and has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last three seasons. Since he became a full-time big leaguer in 2013, his shortest season has been 194.2 innings, which is outstanding.
Archer’s contract is also one of the most team-friendly contracts in the league, especially considering his production. He is under team control for the next four seasons, and his contract maxes out at $8.25 million. For a pitcher of his caliber, this is mere pocket change. Add in the fact that he is controllable, and his contract could not be any better.
Finally, Archer would be moving from the American League to the National League, a move that typically benefits pitchers. Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez are two perfect examples of this, but there are many more around the NL.
Unfortunately, the idea of a trade for Archer may not be very realistic. Considering his leadership, production, and contract, the Rays will demand a king’s ransom for him. Acquiring Archer would take a boatload of prospects, and the Nats may not be willing to meet the Rays’ demands.
After trading several top pitching prospects for Adam Eaton last off-season, the Nats appear inclined to hold onto their prospects this off-season and rebuild the farm system. While a deal certainly could get done, there are definite obstacles to maneuver around.
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If the Nats are able to acquire Archer, it would be a move that would benefit them for years to come. However, the Nats may find the price to be a bit too steep.