Chris Archer is nearing a return after being sidelined for almost three months.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Archer is “feeling good and is eyeing an early July return from the injured list.”
This is a sign the Rays certainly wanted to see from Archer. Having another healthy and potentially lethal arm in an already-solid pitching rotation can be a huge benefit.
The Rays have had a lot of success without Archer, establishing themselves as the top team in the AL East. So where will the former All-Star fit in when he makes his return?
On the season, he is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA.
Before his injury, Archer made just two appearances. His first was out of the bullpen and his second appearance was a start.
In his lone start of the season against the New York Yankees, he had a solid outing. The MLBbro threw 2.1 innings, striking out four and giving up no runs before leaving the game because of the injury.
“I thought it was just something that kind of comes and goes, because things come and go as you start,” Archer told the Tampa Bay Times regarding the injury. “But it lingered, and I found myself altering how I was throwing a little and it just wasn’t worth it.”
“Fortunately, it’s nothing serious. But there’s definitely some tightness in there that I need to get out. So I’m glad that we took the precautions that we did. And I’m really glad the bullpen stepped up.”
The two-time All-Star can make an immediate impact once he returns and silence all the critics that think he doesn’t have anything left in the tank. Even though his numbers have not been up to par the past few seasons, he can still go out there and get the job done on the mound.
Especially playing for a team that can make it back to the World Series. They will need all the pitching they can get.
If he can continue to build off his last performance, there’s no question he will add value to the rotation.
The Rays will find the right spot for Archer once he returns and they’ll keep a close eye on him as the time approaches to formulate a playoff roster.
Going into the 2021 season, the 32-year-old was ready to contribute to a team that was coming off its first World Series appearances since 2008.
Archer’s best season came in 2015 when he made his first all-star team and finished the season with a 12-13 record with a 3.23 ERA.
He made 34 starts that season and finished with 252 strikeouts, the most he’s had in a season.
Even though his career has been a roller coaster ride, he’s still in a position to help his team go deep into the playoffs if used correctly.
Once he makes his return, Archer will be an MLBbro you want to keep tabs on.
Chris Archer wasn’t exactly kicking butts and taking names in his first relief appearance for the Tampa Bay Rays. The 32-year-old veteran gave up 3 runs, 4 hits in two innings of relief. It wasn’t the style of homecoming Archer had imagined.
Chris Archer picks up where he left off with the Pirates. Coming in for relief for TB, Archer gives up 2 runs.
Then again, prior to Spring Training, where he looked fabulous while surrendering just one hit and one run in 6.2 innings pitched, Archer hadn’t pitched in a major league game since August 2019 with the Pirates.
To make matters worse, Archer is a starter, who came in to relieve fellow starter Rich Hill as part of some tandem starter experiment the innovative and sometimes annoying Tampa Bay Rays front office constructed.
It was a tough situation for anyone making his first start in almost two years. Especially a pitcher, as they tend to be very regimented in nature. The good news is that the rotation is expected to return to normal for Archer’s next start, so we will actually ignore his 13.50 ERA right now and see what he does going forward.
Long Road Back To Brilliance
When Archer was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018, he left Tampa Bay one year removed from an All-Star appearance and was still considered an arm on the rise at 29-years of age.
Three years later, after a disastrous, injury-plagued stint, he’s back in Tampa on an incentive-laden, one-year $6.5 million contract, struggling to hang on after 10 years in the show.
The reunion works. The Rays needed to add an arm to their shortened rotation. While Archer needed to turn back the hands of time.
Archer who played with the Rays from 2012 to 2018, missed the 2020 pandemic-shortened season while recovering from surgery to relieve neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome abnormalities. Thoracic outlet syndrome affects the space between the collarbone and first rib (thoracic outlet).
During the recovering process, the two-time all-star also contracted COVID-19 in August while training for his upcoming reunion with the Rays. Besides being stuck in a five-star hotel without a balcony to quarantine, Archer said the virus was not too debilitating.
It took him off the scene for a season, but nothing can hinder his charisma
“It was more the fact that I had to stay in a hotel room. If you own a home, you can go outside and get some Vitamin D which helps with your mood, but I was stuck in a room with no balcony,” Archer explained.
He jokingly added that he was living at the Four Seasons and how it was a five-star hotel but being isolated gives you an appreciation of the small things in life, like sticking your head outside of a window that barely opens.
“You get time to yourself. Either you get distracted, or you can reflect, but there are a lot of things that I can be grateful for,” Archer said.
“It felt good to be back,” said Archer. He added, “I haven’t been healthy and on a mound in a stadium, in that setting, in a long time. So, it was nice.”
When Archer takes the mound for his first start of the 2021 season, it will be for the same manager (Kevin Cash) who traded him in 2018 for current teammates Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and pitching prospect Shane Baz.
Home Is Where The Heat Is
His career has come full circle.
In over 200 career games, Archer is 60-80 with a 3.86 ERA, ranking fourth on Tampa’s career wins list with 54, third in innings pitched with 1,065, second in starts with 177, and second in strikeouts with 1,148.
Archer’s season-high in wins is 12, which came in 2015. The Clayton, North Carolina legend hasn’t had a winning season since, but he’s hoping to change that with the support of the American League champs behind him.
During the transitional phase from Tampa to Pittsburgh and now back to Tampa, new players, coaches and staff have emerged.
“It’s a nice balance as some of the younger guys have some admiration for me, but I have a lot of respect for what these guys have done these last two years,” Archer who went 6-12 in 33 starts with the struggling Pirates said.
He also expressed how good it felt to move around during spring training without GPS as familiarity brings comfortability. Comfortability breeds success and Archer is chilling as he’s returned to the scene of his greatest success, with more left in the tank.
MLB could use the “old” Chris Archer right now. A return to respectability and visibility by the two-time All-Star can help bridge the gap between the mound and the next generation of Black and brown pitchers coming through the pipeline. In Archer, they see a mirror image. Same swag. Same skin tone. Same dream.
David Price is one of the most accomplished Black pitchers of our generation, but the price wasn’t right in his role as a reliever in his season debut for his new LA Dodgers squad.
The last Black pitcher in MLB history to win 20 games as a starter, entered the game and surrendered four hits to the first five batters including two homers. It certainly wasn’t the results Price or the Dodgers expected when newly acquired Trevor Bauer handed the ball off to him.
The Dodgers hung on to win 11-6, so Price’s tough outing doesn’t mean that much. He’s still working off the rust of missing an entire season.
This is Price’s fifth team in his 13 MLB campaigns. He now represents the Senior Circuit and has to mentally prepare himself to come out of the pen at a moment’s notice.
With the Dodgers’ signing of highly-touted free agent Trevor Bauer, they now have an overflow of starting pitching. Price will likely be used in a number of different ways. It’s an adjustment that Price, who averaged over 200 innings as a starter from 2010-14, is eager to make — even after a relief appearance that was funky like ya grandma’s draws.
“I’m willing to do whatever you guys need me to do. Just keep me in the loop and let me know when and I’ll be ready” Price told reporters this spring when asked about his opinion on what role he’ll serve this season.
February 10th, 2020 went down as one of the most important days in recent Dodgers history. A three-team deal between the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins sent two of the top Black Knights in the league to the city of Los Angeles: An MVP in Mookie Betts and former Cy Young winner Price.
Betts gave the Dodgers exactly what they were looking for. The 2018 MVP had another elite season and made multiple spectacular defensive plays in the playoffs including an NLCS Game 7 homer-robbery of 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman.
Price, on the other hand, chose to opt-out because of the coronavirus, so it’s now Price’s chance to prove his worth as a Dodger. The Black Ace already has one World Series title under his belt with the Red Sox. His veteran leadership and mound savvy can only enhance an already formidable LA rotation.
Price currently ranks 5th All-time in wins for Black pitchers in MLB history behind C.C. Sabathia, Ferguson Jenkins, Dwight Gooden and Dave Stewart (who he trails by just 18 victories).
Price has seen plenty of success in his career as a starter. He has 5 All-Star appearances and won the 2012 Cy Young award while finishing 2nd in 2015. His career ERA stands at 3.31 and he is closing in on 2,000 strikeouts.
Entering the league Price was the number one overall pick for the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007 out of Vanderbilt. His Major League debut was in September of 2008 where he pitched out of the bullpen.
He would make their playoff roster and most notably get the save in game 7 in the ALCS to send the Rays to their first-ever World Series.
After 13 years and hundreds of millions of dollars earned his career has come full circle.