The Twins have recently made a trade to the Rays in hopes of acquiring starter Chris Archer, a source told La Velle Neal III of the Star-Tribune.
The offer was made “as recently as two weeks ago,” Neal III said. Neal also mentioned that the Rays have “some interest” in outfielder Max Kepler and want him in any deal for Archer.
This news comes two days after the Twins failed to sign top free-agent starter Yu Darvish, who signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs. Because they did not get Darvish, the Twins “are looking at several other free-agent pitchers, as well as exploring trades with multiple teams.” Neal III’s sources told him.
Acquiring Archer would be a really good move for the Twins, who desperately need a frontline starter after also losing ace Ervin Santana for 10-12 weeks due to a broken hand.
Archer has been one of the top young arms in the game since debuting for the Rays in 2012. He has posted a 3.63 ERA across 967 innings pitched (162 appearances, 160 starts). Archer has also logged over 190 innings in each of the last four seasons, been an All-Star in two of those seasons (2015 and 2017) and been voted in the top five in the AL Cy Young race once (2015).
More importantly, Archer has two years left on a contract that he had extended back in 2014. Archer is due only $13.75 million and has club options for 2020 at $9 million ($1.75 million buyout) and 2021 at $11 million ($250K buyout), respectively. Archer’s friendly contract can help the Twins keep contending for a playoff spot after earning their first postseason appearance since 2010 last season by grabbing the second AL wild card.
If the Rays deal Archer and get Kepler in return, they will be getting a young, controllable outfielder. The 25-year-old Kepler, who has played a season and a half for the Twins, has five years left on his current deal. Last year in his first full season, Kepler slashed .243/.312/.435 with 19 home runs and 69 RBI.