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Braves rumors: Atlanta interested in Chris Archer

Could Tampa’s most valuable starter wind up in Atlanta?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jon Morosi, the Braves have at the very least expressed an interest in Chris Archer.

Archer is coming off a disappointing 2016 season, finishing with an ERA of 4.02, an FIP of 3.81, and an fWAR of 3.1. Despite a sub-par year for the right-hander, his value likely hasn’t taken much of a hit given his extraordinarily team friendly contract, which will pay him roughly $40 million over the next five seasons (including team options).

If Atlanta is serious about acquiring Archer, they’ll have to dip into their impressive farm system to pull off any deal. While Morosi specifically mentions Tampa’s ace, he also noted that the Braves are interested in other controllable starters. This is likely going to be a common theme during the offseason, as the pitching market is notably thin on front-line starters.

As Atlanta prepares to open a new stadium, they still appear to be serious about contending next season. While that might seem like a tall task given their 2016 record of 68-93, the Braves showed significant improvement after installing Brian Snitker as their interim (and now permanent) manager.

With a full season of Dansby Swanson approaching, and a healthy and rejuvenated Freddie Freeman, the Braves could very well vault themselves into contention for a 2nd wild card spot by adding another top of the line starter to go along with Julio Teheran.