The Yankees are going to have plenty of better buy-low options than Chris Archer, who is not good.
Before the Yankees attempt to dive into the middling-player-infested waters and snag a few bargains from the larger-than-usual free agent pool, we’re going to go ahead and caution them to avoid a former division rival.
Chris Archer is available, as the Pirates declined the former Ray’s $11 million option this week, making him yet another discarded and expensive piece.
The Archer trade is already destroying the Yankees by giving Tampa Bay new life, providing them Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz in exchange for an expensive problem. We beg of the team: Please do not compound the issue by also paying Archer yourself.
Archer isn’t simply coming off an injury — he battled thoracic outlet syndrome, the effects of which can continue to rear their ugly head interminably. Occasionally, it’s a career-ending diagnosis, like in the case of Josh Beckett. We can’t just discount this as a setback to be shrugged off for an otherwise-dominant bounce-back candidate.
Of course, there is the other half of this equation: Archer hasn’t been good for a long time. If you need to dig extensively into the metrics to justify someone’s effectiveness, maybe they aren’t that useful.
He hasn’t posted a full-season ERA below 4.00 since the 2015 All-Star campaign. It hovered in the low 4.00s annually before a dispiriting half-season in Pittsburgh in 2019, featuring 55 walks and a 5.19 mark in 119.2 innings pitched (matched with a confusing 143 Ks). It wasn’t bad luck, either; his FIP of 5.02 accounted for the strikeouts and essentially matched his front-facing production. Though the peripherals painted a rosier picture prior to 2019, the stardom hasn’t been there with any consistency.
Archer, at his core, is an extremely personable player and a great representative for his community.
Unfortunately, there’s no recent history that indicates his on-field performance merits anything more than a flyer, and the injury that created his recent absence isn’t a simple and easily-correctable one.
This wouldn’t make much sense for the Yankees to bank on.