Chris Archer is returning to the Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays took a step into the past this week by signing pitcher Chris Archer to a one-year 6.5 million dollar contract pending a physical.

Archer made his debut in 2012 for the Rays with a 1-3 record and 4.60 ERA.

Archer was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018 in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz.

Glasnow and Meadows have become fixtures in the Rays lineup, and Baz is one of the organization’s top prospects.

Archer was due to make 11 million dollars this season with the Pirates, but Pittsburgh declined to pick up the option and bought Archer out for 250,000 dollars.

Archer was terrible in Pittsburgh, going 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA in 33 starts.

Archer did not pitch in 2020 as he recovered from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Archer has been working out and is said to be healthy and ready to go for the 2021 season.

The Pirates wanted Archer to rely primarily on his sinker, and that moved backfired as Archer had the worst season of his career in 2019.

Archer’s best season with the Rays came in 2015 when he posted a 12-13 record with a 3.23 ERA and led the American League with 252 strikeouts.

Archer will join a Rays potential rotation of Tyler Glasnow, Ryan Yarbrough, Josh Fleming, and Michael Wacha.

Archer has had one winning season in his career. That was in 2014 when he went 10-9. Archer has a career record of 60-80 with a 3.86 ERA and 1349 strikeouts.

—The Rays are also one of the teams pursuing Rich Hill, who pitched with the Minnesota Twins last season. The 41-year-old Hill pitched 38 innings with a 3.03 ERA in eight starts.

Although Hill’s fastball is not what it once was, he is still a guy that can eat some innings and fits into the Rays pitching philosophy.

—The Rays have invited the number one prospect in baseball Wander Franco to spring training. The 19-year old Franco has been the number one prospect in the Rays organization the last two years and has been one of baseball’s top prospects.

Look for Franco to get some playing time at SS, and 3B, as playing multiple positions is essential to the Rays philosophy.

Franco has not played professionally above the Class A level, so making the jump to the majors this spring would be a challenge for Franco.

If Franco were to make the team, that could facilitate a Yandy Diaz or Wily Adames’ trade to get another bat in the middle of the lineup.

Pitchers and catchers will report on February 17th, with the first full-squad workout on February 23rd.

The Rays will play the Minnesota Twins on February 27th to open the exhibition season.

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