Rays name Chris Archer as Opening Day starter

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Making official what was assumed, Rays manager Kevin Cash announced that right-hander Chris Archer will start Opening Day for the second straight season.

Archer was an All-Star for the first time last season, throwing 212 innings with a 3.23 ERA and 252/66 K/BB ratio. Through age 26 his career ERA is 3.33 and he’s whiffed 562 batters in 565 innings.

Not bad for a pitcher who was traded from the Indians to the Cubs for Mark DeRosa and from the Cubs to the Rays for Matt Garza. And thanks to a long-term contract signed in April of 2014 he’s under the Rays’ control through 2021, when he’ll be 32 years old.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.