CHICAGO — Standing on the grass at Wrigley Field receiving the Cubs' minor-league pitcher of the year award near the end of the 2010 season, Chris Archer naturally thought he'd soon be back to take the mound for the home nine.
Nearly four years and a trade to the Rays later, Archer returns today with a sense of satisfaction but no feelings of vindication.
"Of course I thought I'd be playing there," Archer said. "But it's a business. You get traded. People make moves. At that time I was just a pawn in this whole scheme, and I still am, to a certain degree."
Archer was a 22-year-old in Double A when the Cubs traded him that next offseason — plus C Robinson Chirinos, OF Brandon Guyer, OF Sam Fuld and SS Hak-Ju Lee — to the Rays for RHP Matt Garza, OF Fernando Perez and OF Zachary Rosscup.
A lot has happened since. Archer has emerged as a top-end starter, signing a six-year, $25.5 million deal with the Rays, and the Cubs are in Year 3 of new management under Theo Epstein.
"I didn't take the Cubs trade as personal," Archer said. "When I got traded from the Indians (to the Cubs in December 2008), I was 19, I got drafted by them, there was more of a connection. Theo is there now, not (former GM) Jim Hendry and his group. I actually played with only one or two people on the entire team.
"To me, honestly, I know you don't want to hear this, but it's just baseball — 60 feet, 6 inches, execute as many pitches as I can within my pitch count, and that's it. I'm not going to be out there like 'I'm extra super motivated because this team traded me.' Because I never rely on outside things to motivate me. The only true motivation is self-motivation."
similar view: Guyer was at the same awards ceremony with Archer, also expecting to live out his dream to play in Wrigley for the Cubs, especially after getting a taste playing in an exhibition there for Class A Peoria. So though he'll enjoy seeing some old teammates, he is excited about the chance to play there. "I've definitely looked forward to this once I saw the schedule," he said. "Just going back to Wrigley is enough."
MISCELLANY: With C Ryan Hanigan's return from an oblique strain unclear, the Rays are likely to have interest in bringing back C Chris Gimenez, who was designated for assignment Thursday by Texas. … OF Wil Myers (right wrist) joined Triple-A Durham on Thursday to continue workouts; he could start a rehab assignment Saturday, with about a two-week stay planned. … Ticket sales for the Aug. 15-17 Yankees series are strong, with at least one sellout likely.