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Rays activate Chris Archer

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After an absence of more than a month the Tampa Bay Rays have activated starter Chris Archer.

Archer went down in early June with an abdominal strain. When he went down he was sporting a 4.24 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/26 in 76.1 innings. Archer will now rejoin Blake Snell, Nate Eovaldi and the revolving cast of relievers in the Rays rotation.

Given the rumors which have swirled since the beginning if the season, one has to think that his next several starts will serve as an audition of sorts for would-be trade partners. Despite the injury, Archer is under team control through 2021, in part via team options, making him a very affordable front line starter which could net a nice return for the Rays who are perpetually in talent-collection mode and, being fair, probably should be given the place the Yankees and Red Sox are in the division at the moment.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?