Report indicates Rays looking for a Chris Sale return in any deal for Chris Archer
The Rays have several starting pitchers on their roster that are of interest to other teams. The Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers have been connected to the Rays and are believed to have the players it would take to acquire one of their young hurlers.
The Cubs have had conversations with Matt Silverman and Tampa’s front office for well over 18 months. The Cubs and Rays have admitted publicly that on paper the two teams matchup and have what the other is looking for. The Cubs have the position players the Rays lack. And Tampa has the starting pitching that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would like to add to the Cubs roster.
According to a report from Marc Topkin, the Rays are “asking for a lot in trades.” The Rays feel they are in a strong position with the lack of free agent pitching on the market and just about every team looking to acquire it.
Topkin reported, “The word from several interested teams is the Rays are seeking massive returns on just about everybody asked about.” Topkin heard the Rays are wanting more for Chris Archer than “the haul the White Sox got for the more accomplished … though less controlled … Chris Sale.”
The Red Sox sent INF Yoan Moncada, RHP Michael Kopech, OF Luis Basabe and RHP Victor Diaz to the White Sox for Chris Sale.
Sale has three years of club control left on his contract before he would be eligible for free agency. Archer is under team control for five more seasons.
Topkin agrees with the Rays strategy “as long as they don’t stubbornly price themselves out of the market and miss out on an opportunity.” Topkin does not think the Rays feel they will be able to get enough in return for Archer due to his “combination of skills, upside and contract.”
Topkin pointed out that the price on Jake Odorizzi is also very high and teams will likely not pay what the Rays are asking for him either. The Rays would also trade Drew Smyly, Alex Cobb and/or Erasmo Ramirez. Topkin reported the Rays know those pitchers will not net them the package of players it would take to acquire either Odorizzi or Archer.
The Rays were one of the teams that showed interest in Jorge Soler before he was sent to Kansas City for Wade Davis. If Soler would have been in a trade for pitching to the Rays, he would not have headlined a deal. The Rays were very interested in Javier Baez last off-season and would likely demand him as part of a package in a trade for Archer or Odorizzi.
With the price of pitching being extremely high throughout the game and the Rays looking for a maximum return and then some, it is going to be hard for any team to pry Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi from Matt Silverman anytime soon. And based on reports and rumblings, Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly will also be rather expensive and difficult to acquire.