Don’t Rule Out the Houston Astros in a Chris Archer Trade
While the Houston Astros could stay pat and not make a trade deadline acquisition this season, one name linked to the Astros has been Chris Archer. This report was from a Peter Gammons’ Tweet on July 16th. Gammons said, “Ken Rosenthal reported offers for Chris Archer. Don’t rule out Houston, but for not for Alex Bregman.” I think Gammons is a closet Astros fan, but he has been right before concerning the Stros.
With the Yulieski Gurriel‘s signing, some people believed that Bregman would be the centerpiece of a trade for an ace pitcher. But it was quickly debunked by Jeff Passan who said that he talked to someone who would know if the Astros would trade Bregman, it was a no. If Bregman is untouchable, what would it take to get Archer in Houston?
Before we look at a trade framework, let’s look a little at Archer and why he would help the Astros. The 28-year-old right-hander is not having his best season, but he has shown potential the last few years. I remember listening to him call some playoff games last season, and he has some great baseball knowledge. Archer would not be a short-term rental as he is under team control until 2021.
These five years could be the window of opportunity for the Houston Astros to win a World Series or two. The Astros will have a core of players in Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa, Gurriel, and Bregman for most of that time. It would make sense to add a power pitcher under team control for that period.
While Archer’s stats aren’t sexy, let’s consider the fact that Randy Johnson was not having the best season with the Mariners before he was traded to Houston. I would compare Johnson’s 1998 numbers to Archer’s 2016, but it would be hard with Johnson’s 213 strikeouts before being traded to the Astros. Let’s just take a look at Archer’s 2015-16 seasons.
As you can see, walks, homers, and losses are up in addition to the higher ERA and WHIP. Most of his fly ball and ground ball percentages are similar, with the exceptions of fly balls that were caught last season are finding the stands more often. His fastball has dropped from 95.2 mph in 2015 to 94.1 mph in 2016. Overall, despite the decrease in velocity, he is the same pitcher from 2015 with not as much luck.
The Rays are a bad team that has pitchers who should be performing better this year. Maybe a change of scenery would be good for Archer, but what would it cost the Astros?
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Let’s look at some speculated pieces for a trade between the Pirates and Rays from MLB Trade Rumors. In a link, Ken Rosenthal said that the Pirates would have to give up Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows as part of the deal. Those two players are the Pirates top two prospects. Not only that, but they represent two players in the top 15 prospects in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline.
If the Astros are holding onto Bregman, that would mean that the trade would be centered around A.J. Reed and Francis Martes. Reed and Meadows are both left-handed hitters, with Reed the better power tool and Meadows better all-around. Would that be all? No, look for maybe 2-3 more prospects to be included, possibly including David Paulino.
Rosenthal said that eight teams have the farm system to get an Archer deal done, it just depends on how bad Jeff Luhnow wants to get the controllable ace type pitcher. The days before the Trade Deadline will be interesting, but don’t be surprised to see the trade deadline pass with no Astros moves.
***Stats from Fangraphs***