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.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Diego Padres have traded closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians. In return the Padres are getting top catching prospect Francisco Mejia.
Hand, the Padres’ All-Star closer, has a 3.05 ERA and 65/15 K/BB ratio and 24 saves over over 44.1 innings of work this season. In addition to helping an Indians bullpen which has struggled mightily this season, Hand will provide an insurance policy for the next two seasons given that both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are due to hit free agency this winter. Hand, meanwhile, is under contract for this year and next for a total of $13.5 million, with a $10 million club option for 2021.
Cimber is another fine reliever who, along with Hand, suddenly transforms the Indians’ bullpen. He’s a 27-year-old rookie, but he’s been a very useful one this year, posting a 3.17 ERA in 42 games, with a K/BB ratio of 51/10 in 48.1 innings. He’s pitched even better than that of late and has been particularly hard on righties. He’s under team control through 2023.
In Mejia, the Padres are getting the Indians’ top hitting prospect. A catcher — though not necessarily a great defensive one — Mejia has struggled in brief stints in the big leagues thus far but is a .291/.344/.438 hitter in six minor league seasons and, at times, has shown star potential. He turns 23 in October.
A nice piece for the Padres in the long term and an immediate upgrade to the Indians’ bullpen in the short term. In short: a baseball trade.