What we know and don’t know about Chris Archer trade rumors

Rays starter Chris Archer is the subject of plenty of trade rumors as the 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, trade deadline approaches. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
Rays starter Chris Archer is the subject of plenty of trade rumors as the 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, trade deadline approaches. MONICA HERNDON | Times
Published July 30, 2018|Updated July 31, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW about the Rays and Chris Archer and the quickly arriving 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday for nonwaiver trades:

There have been inquiries from a lot of teams, probably more than you would have expected given Archer's performance, between the obvious contenders and a few surprises.

The Rays have spent an excessive amount of time talking with the teams and among themselves, weighing opportunities over the weekend and asking Monday for final offers, planning a long night of evaluating.

And, as of 11:15 p.m. anyway, they had not felt compelled or been convinced to say yes to anything they've heard.

(Also, that they are engaged on multiple other trade possibilities, with reliever Sergio Romo said to be of interest to "lots of teams;'' catcher Wilson Ramos' hamstring injury apparently not impacting interest, though maybe return; and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria still oddly unwanted. Thus, a lot fluid.)

HERE IS WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW  about the Archer situation, based on what we were hearing Monday from people around the game:

The Braves, Dodgers and Yankees were among the contenders most interested and advanced and, in theory, most motivated in the talks. They supposedly were joined by the Cardinals, who have long had interest, and the Padres, who are looking to the near-term future, but seem increasingly less likely to prevail. Also interested, and potentially in play, are the A's, Brewers, Cubs, Phillies and Pirates, maybe others. (As we did know, the Rays don't say much about what's going on.)

The Rays are still seeking a hefty price, with some chatter about building a package around two young major-league or close players, plus more. While remaining flexible, as always, in their ask, a catcher and a power-hitting outfielder would address voids in the core of young talent they have assembled.

That's why some of the names that you hear being kicked around include San Diego's Hunter Renfroe and Francisco Mejia/Austin Hedges, Los Angeles' Alex Verdugo, Pittsburgh's Austin Meadows, New York's currently injured Clint Frazier, Chicago's Ian Happ. A deal with Atlanta might involve younger prospects, such as outfielder Cristian Pache and/or catcher William Contreras.

Getting back pitching could, and likely would, also be part of any package, perhaps the bigger part in some deals, which is why there was also chatter about the Yankees' Justus Sheffield and other talented moundsmen.


Will Rays execs, under no obligation and absolutely no orders, actually trade Archer?

There has been a building consensus throughout the game that the Rays are more willing now than ever before to do so, that something was "different" about the tone of their talks, the vibe of the overall situation.

And the circumstances have lined up well, with Archer being one of the few available pitchers under control beyond this year (through 2021 for a total of $27.5 million) and the interested teams including those with the inventory of young players the Rays would want.

But, still …

There is a calculus here, and the Rays may have to decide if they are better off taking the best deal they can get now, or gambling on waiting until the offseason, or even next July.

It could work if Archer either pitches well enough to increase his value, or they can up the ante by including more teams, including some not positioned now, in the discussion.

But waiting can also backfire if Archer were to not pitch well, or to get hurt. And teams motivated to deal now but find solutions elsewhere, or form other plans by the offseason.

Also to be considered is what's best for the current team.

Is Archer the voice and the leader they want in the clubhouse over the next two months as they continue to transition toward that young and, they hope, soon to be contending core?

And, what may the hardest to divine, are they going to get the best out of Archer? He has been giving off some mixed messages, talking about how he wants more than anything to win and prodding the Rays to accelerate their improvement, but also saying how much he likes the young players and would want to stay. There's a reasonable case to be made that the best thing for him would be new scenery and the thrill of a pennant race.

Finally, how many false rumors will there be? There was a brief frenzy Monday when a fake Twitter account made for Fox Sports/The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal "reported" Archer was headed to the Cubs.

So much we know, so much we don't. Tick, tick, tick.

RELATED: More from Marc Topkin

ARROYO INJURY:INF Christian Arroyo sustained a concussion after being hit on the helmet by a pitch Sunday playing for Triple-A Durham. Arroyo was batting with one out in the ninth and Durham losing 7-3 when he was hit by the Trevor Gott pitch. Arroyo’s helmet was knocked off and he crumpled to the ground, face down, and was quickly attended to. He will be monitored via baseball’s concussion protocol and is likely headed to the DL, though he traveled with the Bulls to Gwinnett for Monday’s game.

Arroyo, the Hernando High product acquired from Giants in the December Evan Longoria trade, hit .264 in 20 games with the Rays, his stint ending in June when he strained an oblique muscle. He has also had calf and hand issues. "Thank God he is okay and just has a concussion,'' his mom, Kim, posted on Facebook. "Thank you for all of the prayers and well wishes. Poor guy is like a walking target.''

PARTY LIKE IT’S 2008: The Rays released some details for the weekend celebration of the 2008 team, with about 20 players expected back. Alums will greet fans at Gate 1 Friday (5:10) and Saturday (4:10) and sign autographs at the Trop’s 20th anniversary exhibit. Saturday pregame events include pregame introductions, an Akinori Iwamura bobblehead for all fans, and Iwamura throwing the first pitch to team MVP Jason Bartlett. Among others confirmed: Grant Balfour, Scott Kazmir, James Shields (with the visiting White Sox), B.J. Upton, Dan Wheeler.

SHO-TIME: Angels two-way sensation DH/RHP Shohei Ohtani isn’t putting on quite as much of a show since an elbow issue forced him to the DL for a month and to stick, thus far, just to hitting since his July 3 return. But he is still impressive and worth seeing. “He’s a heck of a talent,’’ Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier said. “I do want to watch him take BP. All the guys were saying when they went to Anaheim that his BP was stupid. So I’ll probably go out and check that out.’’

CRON SHOW: DH/1B C.J. Cron only went 3-for-17 but said he enjoyed squaring off with his former Angels teammates in May, and is looking forward to doing so again. “It’ll be fun to play them again, for sure,’’ he said. “The first time was a lot of fun. I think we even won three of four, so I was able to talk a little smack. Hopefully we can do the same this week.’’

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TBTimes_Rays.