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Buyer Beware: Avoiding a Chris Archer Trade

Amid one of the toughest parts of their schedule, Minnesota fans are clamoring for the Twins to make a trade. With just over a week until the deadline, the hot stove has been less than lukewarm. The Twins have cleared out multiple 40-man roster spots over the last month, but it remains to be seen as to what the club is going to do with all of these openings.

It’s important to remember not to make any impulse deals when it comes to trading away top prospects. Last July, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a deal that looks very lopsided in hindsight. How can the Twins avoid a similar fate?
Image courtesy of © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh sat with a 56-52 record on July 31, 2018. This was good enough for third in their division and they were trailing multiple teams for a Wild Card spot. Being on the outside looking in, didn’t stop them from making a franchise altering trade. The Pirates wanted right-handed pitcher Chris Archer, so they went and got him. Spoiler alert… Pittsburgh would finish fourth in their own division last season.

During his last three seasons in Tampa, Archer posted a 3.77 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP while averaging 245 strikeouts and 205 innings per season. He had one top-5 finish for the AL Cy Young and he represented the Rays in the 2015 and 2017 MLB All-Star Game. He was a workhorse as he led the AL in games started in both of his All-Star campaigns.

Archer had seemed to be on the trade block for multiple seasons because Tampa Bay had him signed to a team friendly deal and the two-time All-Star might not have a higher value. Because of their market, the Rays are forced to part with players as their contract costs rise. Tampa has been able to flourish through strong scouting and thinking outside of the box.

Tampa certainly knew what they were doing when they dealt Archer for a package that included Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz. Meadows was elected to his first All-Star Game this season after hitting .289/.364/.502 in the first half with 30 extra-base hits including 12 homers. He currently looks like the biggest piece of the trade for Tampa, but both pitchers could still turn out to be very good.

Glasnow has an injury history including currently being on the IL with a right forearm strain. In his eight starts (48 1/3 innings) since being dealt, he has a 1.86 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP and 55 strikeouts and 9 walks. Fans might remember Baz’s name because he was one of the top prospects in the 2017 Draft, when the Twins had the first pick. He’s pitching in the Midwest League and has a 3.45 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 10 starts.

Since being traded, Archer has not been the same pitcher that he was in Tampa. He has a brutal 4.97 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 143 innings. His strikeout rate has gone up from 9.7 K/9 in Tampa to 10.4 K/9 in Pittsburgh, but his walk rate has also increased (2.9 to 4.0 BB/9). He’s giving up home runs at almost twice the rate and one of the biggest concerns might be the amount of hard contact he is giving up. His 12.3 Barrel % is in the bottom 4% of the NL.

So how can the Twins avoid an Archer style fleecing by another club?

In all reality, it’s rarely known this quickly after a trade if one team has gained a significant advantage. Meadows was a consensus top-50 prospect for most of his professional career. In comparison, Minnesota’s closest prospect might be Alex Kirilloff. It seems likely that Kirilloff is on a short list of prospects that Minnesota wouldn’t be willing to trade unless they were floored by a deal.

The Twins might not have a comparable pitcher in their farm system to Glasnow. Entering the 2017 season, he was ranked in the top-25 prospects in baseball by all three major rankings and he was big league ready at the time of the trade. Someone like Jordan Balazovic might be the closest as he continues to rise in prospect rankings. He, like Glasnow, was a fifth-round pick, but he isn’t close to being big league ready.

Few saw this kind of drop-off coming for Archer and that’s what can happen with some of the big deals that will happen before next week. Back in 2016, Cubs fans saw their club deal future All-Star Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman and the Cubs went on to win the World Series and he returned to New York that winter as a free agent.

My guess is Cubs fans will take the World Series flag flying over Wrigley instead of having Torres in the middle of their infield.

What are your thoughts as the Twins become buyers? How can they avoid an Archer deal? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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126 Comments

Do an article on avoiding a deal like Verlander, too.

    • ashbury, jorgenswest, Highabove and 11 others like this

Twins needs to make wise trades.

Do an article on avoiding a deal like Verlander, too.

Attached Image: iswydt4.jpeg

    • Twins33, PseudoSABR and MN_ExPat like this

Trade Sano

An unpopular choice but I have no faith in him.It's home runs or strikeouts and his fielding hasn't been all that great lately.He would probably be someone who could give us great return in a trade and we wouldn't have to dip into our pool of highly regarded prospects.

In general I always worry about the Twins when they make trades.We rarely seem to get the better end of the deals.

    • USNMCPO, PDX Twin and jz7233 like this
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twinstalker
Jul 23 2019 12:32 AM

No on Lewis, Kirilloff, Graterol, Balzovic, and Duran (and Arraez), and maybe no on Larnach. The way to win a WS is not to "go for it." The way to win is to have a consistently very good team that you can add to with the Gordons and Rookers of the system. Year after year.

 

I'd rather have a chance every year (a real chance, not a Terry Ryan no clue how to put together the right pieces 2000s chance) than shoot my load on one year every so often.

 

Rosario will need to be dealt, dealing Buxton might be the necessary play, pitching needs to gel in the upper system. Players are going to need to be replaced, and a system of continuity has to be developed. You need to keep your top tops.

 

The Twins might not pull a Stroman/Giles or a Boyd/Greene without a top prospect, but they can certainly get some relief help. Starting pitching is on its way in the system. Pretty close, really.

    • birdwatcher, dgwills, Major League Ready and 1 other like this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 23 2019 04:35 AM

Trade Sano
An unpopular choice but I have no faith in him. It's home runs or strikeouts and his fielding hasn't been all that great lately. He would probably be someone who could give us great return in a trade and we wouldn't have to dip into our pool of highly regarded prospects.
In general I always worry about the Twins when they make trades. We rarely seem to get the better end of the deals.


I love this logic. He’s not very good but he’s going to fetch a “great return”.

It doesn’t work that way.
    • Cap'n Piranha, Danchat, Minfidel and 4 others like this

What if the Pirates offered us Archer in a way to cut their losses and get something back. Do you feel like he could rebuild his reputation here?

 

What would you give up for Archer? I think we would be looking far down our system where as the Pirates would be looking in the middle. Would you give up a Duran and Alcala for him? Bear in mind he has two years left on a very good contract.

    • birdwatcher, Oldgoat_MN and PDX Twin like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jul 23 2019 05:24 AM

The funny thing about that trade was that Glasnow's value had all but tanked. He was a former top 50 prospect who was out of options and still strugging in Pittsburg's lineup. Tampa clearly new what he was missing (besides health) and got a couple other quality prospects as well. That's a big reason why I think teams would bite on guys like Gonsalves and Stewart. They won't be headliners, but selling teams need to be good at developing projects and have spots to do them (and as an added bonus, get to draft higher as those projects take their lumps).

 

You're right that we don't have anything close to comparing to Glasnow... Perhaps Alex Meyer a few years ago might be the closest comp there.I don't even think Blasovic compares. He may see the bottom of the top 100 this year. Glassnow lived there for a few years.

    • markos likes this

Tampa didn't have to trade Archer. He could have been dealt in the off-season. 

 

As a matter of fact. Tampa was actually in contention when they made the deal. Pittsburgh had to pay a high price or it wasn't going to happen. 

 

How do you avoid this from happening?

 

You can't if you really really want the player but understanding leverage and what side of that leverage you are on, helps. 

 

 

    • Tomj14, MN_ExPat and vavo like this

What would you give up for Archer?

Cash considerations. :)

    • USAFChief, lecroy24fan, Rigby and 1 other like this

 

Cash considerations. :)

Gasp! You just want the money.

    • ashbury, USAFChief, Jerr and 2 others like this

Gasp! You just want the money.

Indeed. I will PM you the details for a wire transfer.

    • GCTF likes this

The best advice is to not follow the herd. Archer didn't look great to me yet everybody was all up on him. Same with Darvish being injury prone.

 

Oakland tends to do well because they ignore the name and they ignore the fanfare. They look at the data, and I don't mean WAR or even FIP, which for example were masking Archer's actual performance.

    • jz7233 likes this

The funny thing about that trade was that Glasnow's value had all but tanked. He was a former top 50 prospect who was out of options and still strugging in Pittsburg's lineup. Tampa clearly new what he was missing (besides health) and got a couple other quality prospects as well. That's a big reason why I think teams would bite on guys like Gonsalves and Stewart. They won't be headliners, but selling teams need to be good at developing projects and have spots to do them (and as an added bonus, get to draft higher as those projects take their lumps).

You're right that we don't have anything close to comparing to Glasnow... Perhaps Alex Meyer a few years ago might be the closest comp there. I don't even think Blasovic compares. He may see the bottom of the top 100 this year. Glassnow lived there for a few years.


Worth remembering that Glasnow had been an elite prospect, with never so much as a hiccup in the minors (with good health too). Yes, he was bad in Pittsburgh, but in limited use, he was better than ever at AAA in 2017, and he was still young because he was a HS draftee. I think a lot of teams still valued him, not elite (top 10-20) prospect value anymore but top 100 or maybe even top 50 Meadows-type value. (Would be interesting to see guys like that ranked even if they have too many MLB IP/PA.) That might be close to a Balazovic ranking now even though it's a different profile. (Meyer was older, never that elite, and his value tanked with a rough year at AAA in 2015.)

The best advice is to not follow the herd. Archer didn't look great to me yet everybody was all up on him. Same with Darvish being injury prone.

 

Oakland tends to do well because they ignore the name and they ignore the fanfare. They look at the data, and I don't mean WAR or even FIP, which for example were masking Archer's actual performance.

Who are your picks, to avoid the next Archer and snag the next Verlander?

The thing about Archer was he was a bit of a project too. ERA+ marks of 100, 103, and 97 leading up to the trade. Career 107. Durable counting stats, some interesting peripherals, and a team-friendly contract, but it shouldn't be that difficult to identify and avoid that profile in trade.
    • USAFChief likes this

 

No on Lewis, Kirilloff, Graterol, Balzovic, and Duran (and Arraez), and maybe no on Larnach. The way to win a WS is not to "go for it."  

Yes on Lewis, Kirilloff, Graterol, Balzovic, and Duran (and Arraez). Yes on Larnach. The way to win a WS is to go for it when you have the chance. 

 

Just in the last three years:

 

2018 Boston added Nate Eovaldi, Ian Kinsler, and Steve Pearce

2017 Houston added Francisco Liriano, Tyler Clippard, and Justin Verlander

2016 Chicago added Chris Coghlan, Mike Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, and Joe Smith.

 

Certainly don't give away top prospects. But if you can impact your team significantly, do it, even if it costs some of those same prospects. 

 

 

    • h2oface, Vanimal46, Tomj14 and 1 other like this

Never understood the love for Archer. I wanted nothing to do with him as I saw him as overrated given the results in front of the peripherals. I feel similar about Marcus Stroman this season. I think he is the pitcher a team is going to get fleeced for like this. 

 

With that said, at the right price I would be fine with him on the Twins, but I would expect him to only be as good as Gibson has been.

    • MMMordabito and jz7233 like this
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SpicyGarvSauce
Jul 23 2019 08:06 AM

 

Do an article on avoiding a deal like Verlander, too.

 

I like you. I really like you.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

I trust this front office to not do anything dumb, nothing that would hurt the team long-term. They've been really smart on that front so far.

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SpicyGarvSauce
Jul 23 2019 08:08 AM

 

 

Yes on Lewis, Kirilloff, Graterol, Balzovic, and Duran (and Arraez). Yes on Larnach. The way to win a WS is to go for it when you have the chance. 

 

Just in the last three years:

 

2018 Boston added Nate Eovaldi, Ian Kinsler, and Steve Pearce

2017 Houston added Francisco Liriano, Tyler Clippard, and Justin Verlander

2016 Chicago added Chris Coghlan, Mike Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, and Joe Smith.

 

Certainly don't give away top prospects. But if you can impact your team significantly, do it, even if it costs some of those same prospects. 

 

Again, this.

 

It isn't like the Twins are going to be GIVING these prospects away. Good grief, people need to get over the whole "noooo, we can't trade our prospects. Never, ever, ever." Prospects are just that - prospects. They aren't proven, and more often than not they fail to live up to expectations.

 

As highly as some people think of Lewis and Kiriloff, they aren't Mike Trout, or Bryce Harper, or Joe Mauer, or any of those "elite" guys. Good prospects, sure. But hardly someone you would look at and say "organization changer."

    • USAFChief likes this

 

Yes on Lewis, Kirilloff, Graterol, Balzovic, and Duran (and Arraez). Yes on Larnach. The way to win a WS is to go for it when you have the chance. 

 

Just in the last three years:

 

2018 Boston added Nate Eovaldi, Ian Kinsler, and Steve Pearce

2017 Houston added Francisco Liriano, Tyler Clippard, and Justin Verlander

2016 Chicago added Chris Coghlan, Mike Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, and Joe Smith.

 

Certainly don't give away top prospects. But if you can impact your team significantly, do it, even if it costs some of those same prospects. 

 

Outside of the Chapman trade, none of those trades cost "Lewis, Kiriloff" level prospects

    • Minfidel likes this

 

Outside of the Chapman trade, none of those trades cost "Lewis, Kiriloff" level prospects

The Astros sent right-hander Franklin Perez (No. 3 Astros prospect, per MLBPipeline.com), outfielder Daz Cameron (No. 9) and catcher Jake Rogers (No. 11) to the Tigers

 

The Astros sent right-hander Franklin Perez (No. 3 Astros prospect, per MLBPipeline.com), outfielder Daz Cameron (No. 9) and catcher Jake Rogers (No. 11) to the Tigers

And fleeced the Tigers, big time.

 

The Astros sent right-hander Franklin Perez (No. 3 Astros prospect, per MLBPipeline.com), outfielder Daz Cameron (No. 9) and catcher Jake Rogers (No. 11) to the Tigers

 

I'm aware. None of them were the level of prospect Kiriloff or Lewis are