Why is Chris Archer going to AAA?

Very rarely will you hear me questioning the decisions of Andrew Friedman, Mitch Lukevics or Joe Maddon. I’ve seen what they’ve done before and know their record is pretty good when it comes to being right. However, I very much have distaste for the optioning of Chris Archer to AAA. We all know why he was sent down, Chris has “options”, Niemann can’t pitch out of relief and Robby Carmona has a guaranteed contract worth over 2 MIL. It’s the business part of baseball coming out more than “Who is better suited for the spot?” and sometimes even the smartest of teams/GMs have to do it.

It’s not the only option they had, it’s just the safest option for them currently. The other option, in my eyes, is shopping the contract of Jeff Niemann around and seeing which team in need of a starting pitcher would offer them the most in return. This is the 3rd time that Jeff Niemann has been in a battle for a roster spot, with both his ¬†adversaries no longer in the organization(Wade Davis, ended up in the bullpen after losing to Niemann for a rotation spot. However, he was dealt nonetheless). Archer, in my mind, is hands down the better pitcher of the trio and likely will be filling Niemann’s rotation spot once he either gets injured again or dealt.

My question to the organization is, what really does Chris Archer need to “work on” in Durham to make him more MLB-ready than he already is? Improve his change-up to at least more than a “show me” pitch that he throws just for kicks? Improve control/command of his 2 “plus” pitches(Fastball and Slider) so that he reaches his ceiling of a top-of-the-rotation starter? I’m really wondering how much work Archer has left to do, it’s not as if Neil Allen doesn’t have his hands full already with the re-inventing of Mike Montgomery and the curious case that is Alex Colome.

Andrew, show me my questioning was made in vain and deal Jeff for something. He had a huge upside when he was drafted long ago, but he’s a guy that you should’ve given up on years ago when you obliterated the organization’s foundation to prepare for the roster that you wanted.

About Jake

Very opinionated, sometimes wrong too
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5 Responses to Why is Chris Archer going to AAA?

  1. Jason Hanselman says:

    I’m glad you wrote about this. I think you capably answered your own questions regarding Archer. He does need to improve the consistency of his change. He does need to further refine his control & command. He does need to further develop his mental approach in order to not let a bad call, fluke hit, or tough at bat turn one mistake into several. Those are all pretty clear and there’s no downside to sending him back down.

    The reason I’m glad you touched on this is something that I find funny to observe. Most fans are in agreement that you should always buy low and sell high. They’ll tell you as such, without putting any thought into what that actually means. Right now Niemann does not carry very much value. The sour taste of injury is in the back of the throats of most that don’t watch him day in and day out. His flaws are obvious and his strengths are forgotten. Trading Niemann right now would be the very definition of selling low and would be akin to the Hammel for Aneury trade several years ago.

    It’s obvious that Niemann should be given the chance to boost his trade value by getting off to a hot start. If he falters out of the gate his trade value is not actually affected all that much, but if he starts strong then other teams will surely take notice that he’s fixed and fine going forward. This will be the absolute best time to sell him, but certain fans will tell you that you can’t “disrupt” a rotation, whatever the hell that means. This is the very definition of selling high! The same fans that demand the team sell high or don’t sell at all will squawk out of the other side of their mouths that you can’t trade a guy because he’s doing well. Even if the guy is clearly overperforming! I shake my head when I see this sort of lip service.

    Best case scenario Niemann starts as the last man in the rotation, pitches over his head, and the team can trade him to a contender that sees a main cog go down. Then Roberto Hernandez gets starts until the team realizes that the theory isn’t working or he shows legitimate strides that showcase the skillset he showed when he was a promising workhorse. Chris Archer will be there, but in the ideal scenario Niemann is flipped for real, on the verge talent, Hernandez pitches well enough all year, and then Archer is thrown in the pen in September to give the Rays another relief ace. Next year Archer breaks camp as the #5 starter. Any real disciple of Weaver would tell you that the best place for a young starter to, well, start, is in the pen at the Show.

  2. Jake says:

    Yes, however averaging 163 IP for the last 4 seasons or so isn’t what the Rays rotation needs. Jeff Niemann won’t establish enough value where he’s going to amount to a stud prospect. Why not deal him to a team like the rockies or Mariners who are desperate and want to postpone their own prospects’ arb. clocks? It may be for scraps, but were we ever thinking it’d be anything more than that?? If you think he (1) can add trade value and (2) acquire key prospects…you’re lying to yourself.

    They basically threw Matt Moore into the deep end of the pool when they could’ve easily waited a year to sign him to a long-term deal(he was open to the deal, why would a year matter?)

    • Jason Hanselman says:

      They only need him to throw 30-40 innings and what’s important is what will happen, not what has. Nobody is delusional enough to think he’ll bring back a stud prospect, but right now he brings back Aneury Rodriguez. At the end of April maybe he brings back a fringe top-100 guy. The Rockies and Mariners are already out of competition for the year and Jeff Niemann doesn’t help them do anything but maybe get out of the basement. And it doesn’t matter if I’m lying to myself, because you’re getting nothing for him now. You may as well roll the dice that he can up his value and, heck, I’d think it’s more likely that Niemann pitches well out of the gate than Archer a guy that you admitted has things he can and should work on in a low pressure environment.

      Chris Archer ain’t Matt Moore. That’s like saying that Wil Myers is Mike Trout.

  3. Jake says:

    Really, on the Wil Myers thing?

  4. Jake says:

    FWIW, I’m not saying that Wil Myers>Mike Trout, but I am more definite that Myers’ bat has more power in it than Trout’s could potentially. Trout is a special player, overall, would love if Myers overall body-of-work comes to 80% of Trout’s rookie year.

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