While Chris Archer would have been a good addition to the team, the Phillies were right to not pull the trigger on acquiring him.
Chris Archer is the kind of player that the Phillies could use going forward. He is relatively young at 29 years old, who’s under team control through the 2021 season. Along with being under team control, Archer is also making a reasonable salary.
Archer is making $6.5 million in 2018, will make $7.5 million in 2019, and then has team options for 2020 and 2021 are 8.25 million each. For context, some other pitcher salaries for 2018 are David Price at $30 million, Jake Arietta at $30 million, Felix Hernandez at $26 million, and Yu Darvish at $25 million.
To have a pitcher in Archer who is younger and arguably just as talented as most of the players at this point when he is on his game, along with under control at a figure that at its peak is still around $17 million less than the lowest figure in this group is very enticing.
So why were the Phillies not smart to go all in on Archer? The cost to get him was astronomical. In order to acquire Archer, the Pirates parted with outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow, both former first round picks and highly-touted prospects.
Meadows was a top-10 prospect in all of baseball going into the 2017 season. He has dealt with some injuries, but has shown the ability to be an above average producer in his short time in the Major Leagues.
In 189 at-bats this year, Meadows has batted .294 with a .519 slugging, five home runs, 29 runs scored, 20 RBI and three stolen bases. He has also shown flexibility in the field, as he can play all three outfield positions.
Glasnow was a top pitching prospect but has been converted into a reliever. He is still just 24 years old and has shown to have great strike out stuff, sitting down 72 batter in 56 innings this season
The Rays will try to convert Glasnow back to a starter, as he will be starting against the Angels in his Ray debut.
Along with the hefty price to acquire Archer, while he has the strikeout stuff of an ace, his numbers have not been great, especially the last few years. While it is hard to hold Archer’s record against him since he played for some bad Rays teams, it is still something to look at.
Archer has only had two seasons with a winning record; 2013 with a record of 9-7, and 2014 with a record of 10-9. His strikeout numbers were great as referenced above, having 252 strikeouts in 2015, 233 in 2016 and 249 in 2017.
While he is striking out a ton of batters, he is still giving up runs as his era is has been above four in four of his seven Major League seasons. His era of 4.31 in 2018 has been his worst of his career outside of 2012 when he made his debut in the Major Leagues.
While Archer would have been a great addition for the team, and has shown the upside to be a legitimate ace, due to his regression, and the extremely high cost to acquire him; the Phillies look smart for holding on to their pieces to further develop, or use to acquire another big piece via trade in the offseason.