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Rays GM Erik Neander says Chris Archer is the type of player his team needs to build around

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Rays starter Chris Archer‘s name is bound to come up in trade rumors throughout the offseason. He’s 29 years old and will cost a relatively meager $13.75 million over the next two seasons combined, and he has two club options for the 2020-21 seasons as well, worth a combined $20 million.

GM Erik Neander realizes this. On MLB Network Radio, he said the front office is respectful of phone calls that come in asking about Archer, but said that the right-hander is “exactly the type of player that we need to have … to have a chance to win.” He added that Archer is the type of player the Rays need to build around.

Archer finished the 2017 season with a 4.07 ERA and a 249/60 K/BB ratio across 201 innings. He’s had a four-plus ERA in each of the last two seasons. However, among his five full seasons, Archer posted his best strikeout and walk rates — 29.2 percent and seven percent, respectively — in 2017, suggesting that his best years may lie ahead of him.

The small-market Rays, though, are no strangers to unloading a prized player. Perhaps most famously, the club sent lefty David Price to the Tigers ahead of the 2014 non-waiver trade deadline. It is sadly a reality for many small-market teams that they need to recoup value on their players sooner rather than later because they don’t have the same financial muscle to retain players that other teams have.

Video: Corey Dickerson breaks scoreless tie with walk-off home run

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Neither the Pirates nor the Tigers could manage any offense during Thursday afternoon’s game at PNC Park. That is, until outfielder Corey Dickerson launched a walk-off solo home run off of Alex Wilson with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Dickerson, 28, has been solid for the Pirates for the first month of the season. He’s batting .314/.348/.500 with a pair of home runs, 13 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 92 plate appearances. The Pirates acquired him from the Rays in late February in exchange for journeyman pitcher Daniel Hudson and Single-A infielder Tristan Gray.