5. Chris Archer
Chris Archer is at a crossroads in his MLB career.
After a stellar stint with the Tampa Bay Rays that saw the North Carolina-native make two All-Star teams, Archer was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and minor leaguer Shane Baz.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and that deal looks like highway robbery. Meadows and Glasnow helped the Rays to a World Series berth in 2020, while Archer’s most famous moment of his time with the Pirates is beaning Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich after he pimped a home run.
Archer did not play in 2020 after undergoing surgery to deal with thoracic outlet syndrome. His time with the Pirates is all but certainly over.
But there is still plenty left on the bone for Archer, if he is willing to be flexible. When Pittsburgh dealt Meadows and Glasnow to Tampa, they expected an ace in return. That is not who Archer is in 2020. Presently, Archer is the definition of a buy-low candidate, who has a much higher ceiling than his bargain bin counterparts.
His fastball may no longer be plus, but Archer was a pioneer of the slider revolution. How much of that was due to Tampa Bay’s analytics department and wizardly pitching coaches is up for debate, but if Archer finds that wipeout slider again, he could easily find himself back near the top of a major league rotation.
And if that slider is gone and the fastball doesn’t play, Archer could make a move to the bullpen, or be cut loose entirely. Former All-Stars don’t come up for bargain prices very often. There has to be something left with Archer, and for a small fee, the Blue Jays can find out for themselves.
Who should the Blue Jays make their top priority in free agency? Which position is the biggest area to address? Let us know in the comments below.