Chicago Cubs: Is Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer the answer?

Jul 8, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

With the trade deadline two weeks away, and the Chicago Cubs looking for pitching help, is Chris Archer the answer?

The sound the Chicago Cubs hope to make in the trade market? “Sploosh!” But what type of move will that take? It’s been stated that the team needs pitching help, mostly in the bullpen. Rumors have spread about the Cubs making a move to get Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees. Could the answer come in Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer?

Yup. Not only does he work as a short-term solution to this year, but for the long-term. Before the rampage starts, hear me out.

From the beginning of his tenure as President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein’s plan was to create a long-term culture of winning. So far, he has done that. But the price is high and revenues may not be enough for the team to hold onto many players. Of the current roster, only four players will be free agents after the 2016 season: Travis Wood ($6.17 mil), David Ross ($2.5 mil), Trevor Cahill ($4.25 mil), and Clayton Richard ($2 mil).

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There is also pressure to extend the contract of Jake Arrieta. Under team control through the 2017 season, Arrieta’s current contract is the fourth highest amongst pitchers on the Cubs starting rotation. The contract ranks as the 41st highest amongst all pitchers in the MLB.

All starting pitchers that is. Given that Arrieta is a client of Scott Boras, and the numbers that were given to David Price and Zack Greinke this past offseason, it is safe to say Jake is going to require big bucks to stay. My guess is at least 6 years, $202 million for the 30-year old Cy Young winner.

In 2018, more substantial contracts will come off the books. These include Miguel Montero ($12 mil), John Lackey ($16 mil), Jason Hammel ($10 mil), and Pedro Strop ($4.4 mil). Add the hopes of a major TV deal coming down the pipe and, thus, massive revenues for contracts.

But, the Cubs will need to lock up current players long-term as well. Kris Bryant makes a mere $652K this year, while Addison Russell makes $527K. Both players are under contract until 2022 and are valuable to the current roster.

So, the Cubs have some decisions to make. The front office needs to make moves that keep fans from thinking they are “idiots doing idiot things because they are idiots.” And, keeps the winning culture improving. In comes Archer.

Chris Archer that is. The one-time Cubs minor leaguer and trade piece that brought Matt Garza to the team in 2011, could be the solution. We have discussed in earlier posts the struggles of Archer this year, but a trade for him could be important. Because of his struggles and the rebuilding of the Tampa Bay Rays, Chris could come at a lower price. Possibly only a few prospects.

Chris Archer has potential. Moving to a new location, working with pitching wizard Chris Bosio, and being around the likes of Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Hammel, and Arrieta could prove to be a positive for the young right-hander. Bring him in, place him in the bullpen with Travis Wood and Adam Warren.

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Give him a chance to adjust to the culture, pitch in some big games. Energize him. See what he can do in 2016.

The bonus? Archer’s current contract is for $4.25 mil per year. Until 2022. With Lackey coming off the books in 2017, and Arrieta and Hammel potentially moving on, Chris Archer could be a solid piece to the pitching puzzle in the prominent years of his career. Additionally, the contract for the now 27-year old is team favorable, leaving room to pay players that Cubs need to keep.

While it would be great to land Miller or Chapman, Archer could benefit the Cubs long-term. And, let’s be honest, as Cubs  fans we do not want to wait 108 more years for a World Series. The Epstein and Jed Hoyer have synthesized a great culture for the Cubs. I, for one, would love to see this continue. Do you not?