Rays RHP Chris Archer was still in Taiwan on an MLB ambassador trip last weekend when his agent relayed word of the next great adventure of his offseason: an invite to join ESPN's broadcast team at the World Series.
After enjoying, and getting tremendous reviews for, his analyst debut during the AL wild-card game, Archer was excited by the offer. He'll do pre- and postgame TV work and some in-game radio for Games 1, 2, and 5 — missing 3-4 to host his Archway Foundation golf event Friday in North Carolina — and possibly 6-7.
"The first time was really fun," Archer said. "No. 1, I like to bring a different outlook to the fans. Plus, I benefited from getting more eyeballs on me and being recognized nationally, which playing in a smaller market is a little bit tough. And the Rays organization is going to be represented at the World Series. So it's going to be cool."
Archer, 27, said he welcomed the chance to "articulate on a layman's level" his insights from the field: "I don't feel I have to use big words to sound smart."
Not only did Archer get strong reviews from other baseballers and broadcasters, but gq.com even lauded his suit choice, calling him "a champion of style."
The six-day trip to Taipei was rewarding, Archer said, for the chance to represent MLB at a series of events and experience the culture. And there was the frenzied reception from fans, requiring him to be accompanied by a security team wherever he went, plus a translator and photographer.
"They view baseball as something very prestigious, and they've only had a handful of major-league players," he said. "It was fun just because they think baseball players are royalty, and I got treated like royalty."
Even more so when he spoke to a group of young players who wanted to squeeze his arm. "Not to see how strong I was, but to see what a major-league baseball player felt like," he said.
Archer, who had dinner with Rays minor-league prospect Chih-Wei Hu, also was intrigued by the Asian culture (including a visit to a Buddhist temple), history and food options, enough so to want to go back someday.
Offseason workouts start Nov. 9, as he'll pair again with bay area trainer Jason Riley: "I worked out with him for six weeks and felt the best I ever have and had my best season. Now I'm going to spend the entire offseason with the guy. I'm excited to see the gains I can make."
RAYS RUMBLINGS: Though RHP Jake Odorizzi, OF Steven Souza Jr. and a few prospects have upside, RHP Wade Davis' emergence and the Royals' ongoing success sure make it look like they won the 2012 Wil Myers trade. … Given the inevitable breakup with Don Mattingly, it's a fair question if Andrew Friedman erred in not bringing Joe Maddon to the Dodgers after both left the Rays. … Gabe Kapler, who played and did consulting work for the Rays and did join Friedman in L.A. as farm director, seems likely to take over as Dodgers manager. … 3B coach Charlie Montoyo "interviewed well" for the Mariners manager's job that went to Scott Servais, agent Burton Rocks said. Montoyo could be an L.A. candidate given his ties to Friedman. … Just reporting a fact that, from what I hear, may surprise certain Rays fans: OF Kevin Kiermaier did not make the E! Online list of 24 "hot baseball players." … Baseball operations president Matt Silverman was hoping for a more stable offseason but has lost player personnel director Matt Arnold to the Brewers and seen VP Chaim Bloom interview for, though not get, two GM jobs.
Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.