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Why haven’t the Cubs signed this guy yet, Part 4: Chris Archer

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Another arm who could help the Cubs.

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Cubs acquired Chris Archer from the Indians (along with Jeff Stevens) December 31, 2008, in exchange for Mark DeRosa.

In 2010, he was the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year after posting a 2.34 ERA and 1.173 WHIP in 28 appearances (27 starts) combined between Advanced-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.

And then the Cubs traded him away, along with Sam Fuld, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos and Brandon Guyer, to the Rays for Matt Garza, Zac Rosscup and Fernando Perez.

This isn’t to lament that deal, because Garza was eventually sent to the Rangers for Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards Jr., Neil Ramirez and Mike Olt, and the first two of those were key parts of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series team.

So Archer, indirectly, contributed to that team.

Meanwhile, he was putting up solid seasons for the Rays, making two All-Star teams and finishing fifth in Cy Young voting in 2015, posting 11.9 bWAR from 2013-17.

And then, at the trading deadline in 2018, the Rays traded Archer to the Pirates, as Pittsburgh was trying one last time to contend. (It didn’t work; after the deal, the Bucs went 26-27.) And if you think the Cubs made a bad trade involving Archer, the Pirates sent Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz to Tampa Bay for him, and by the time that’s done that will likely be one of the best deals in Rays franchise history.

Anyway, about Archer: He’s a free agent. He didn’t play in 2020 due to recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, but is now healthy and apparently ready to go for 2021. He turned 32 in September and could very easily be a good inning-eater, if nothing else.

As with some of these other proposals I’ve made, it would be good to have incentives in an Archer deal to make sure he’s healthy before being paid. So, I’d give him a major-league deal worth $1 million (presuming he makes the Opening Day roster) and then $1.5 million for every 10 starts he makes. That would make it a $5.5 million deal if he makes 30 starts. Tack on an $8 million option for 2022 with a $500,000 buyout, so $6 million guaranteed for a 30-start Archer.

Who says no?


Chris Archer...

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs for the amount listed in the article
    (316 votes)
  • 16%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs for some other amount
    (79 votes)
  • 19%
    ... should not be signed by the Cubs
    (95 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (2 votes)
492 votes total Vote Now