MLB Trade Deadline: Pittsburgh Pirates acquire Chris Archer

The Pirates sent two top young players to the Rays for the young righty

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(Photo Credit: Keith Allison)

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-handed starter Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Pirates will send outfield prospect Austin Meadows and 24-year-old righty Tyler Glasnow, plus a third player to Tampa Bay in the deal.

Archer, 29, is 3-5 with a 4.31 ERA on the year. On top of Pittsburgh, the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, and Atlanta Braves were reported to have interest in him.

Pittsburgh overpays

No matter how you look at this, the Pirates overpaid for Archer. Yes, Archer has a team-friendly contract that pays him just $7.5m next season, plus two club options for 2020 and 2021 worth a combined $16.5m, but Meadows was establishing himself as a prominent member of the Pirates’ outfield. Glasnow, similarly, was slowly establishing himself as a key piece out of the bullpen.

In 34 appearances in 2018, Glasnow has posted a 4.34 ERA while striking out 72 hitters in 56 innings. He has had some issues with walks, thus his 1.45 ERA, but he is still just 24 years old and has time to develop as a pitcher.

Now, let’s take a look at Meadows, the 23-year-old outfielder who first debuted following an injury to Starling Marte. He impressed manager Clint Hurdle enough that he stuck around once Marte came back and put up a line of .295/.327/.468. Meadows also hit five home runs with 13 RBI. In Tampa Bay, he can expect to find regular at-bats, likely as a corner outfielder.

The Archer effect

Archer can look forward to actually being on a competitive team now because talented though the Rays are, they have more been playing spoiler to teams like the Yankees and Red Sox this year as opposed to being fully in the playoff picture. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is 55-52 and seven games behind the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central. The Pirates are also just 3.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second NL Wild Card berth.

And even if Archer doesn’t lead the Pirates to the playoffs this season, their pitching staff is still all the better going into 2019. Maybe he can fill the void left by Gerrit Cole’s trade to the Houston Astros and just play better in general now that he’s on a team in the playoff hunt.

This was an aggressive move and a surefire overpay on Pittsburgh’s end but with what Archer brings to the table, it could all be worth it.