The Rays are reportedly seeking a big return for every player that has received inquires this offseason, according to Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. That includes right-handed ace Chris Archer, who could command a return package to rival the one the White Sox received for Chris Sale last week.
As Topkin points out, Archer is older and less dominant than Sale, though he comes with a more team-friendly contract. Coming off of a career-best performance in 2015, the 28-year-old delivered a 4.02 ERA and 3.1 fWAR in 2016, seeing a significant decrease in his strikeout total and giving up a career-worst 30 home runs through 201 1/3 innings. He still profiles among the elite starters of the American League, however, and is controllable for five years at $38.5 million (via Topkin). Sale, by comparison, remains under club control for three years at $39.5 million.
Any deal involving Archer would likely require a top prospect or two, and Topkin suggests that the asking price may be too high for interested parties to meet. The same could be said for fellow right-hander Jake Odorizzi, whom the Rays appear equally reluctant to trade without a significant return. If the club deals anyone this winter, it will probably be right-handers Alex Cobb and Erasmo Ramirez or left-hander Drew Smyly, all of whom could be acquired for a much more reasonable price.