After 10 years in the majors as an ace, melanated mound marauder Chris Archer is joining the Dodgers to fulfill the role of special assistant of baseball operations.
Archer, 35, started his career in 2006 when the Indians took him in the fifth round of the MLB Draft, but he didn’t get his first major league opportunity until 2012 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Throughout his career, Archer notched a 3.93 ERA, reached the All-Star Game twice and once finished 5th in Cy Young Award voting after posting a 3.23 ERA and a career-high of 252 strikeouts.
After spending his prime with the Rays, Archer moved on to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a big-time trade for Tyler Gasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz. Another stint with Tampa Bay followed before he finished 2022 with the Twins.
How’d He Get There?
Despite never playing for Los Angeles though, Archer landed a job with the squad and in an interview on the MLB Network’s MLB Tonight, Archer said his relationship with former Rays general manager and now Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman played a factor in his decision to help out the ballclub.
“I’m just really excited to be with a good club, good organization,” Archer said. “There’s a lot of trust there from my days with Andrew Friedman.”
Though Friedman didn’t realize it at the moment, his decision to trade for the young Archer in 2011 paid dividends not only on the baseball field but also in the operations department.
In Archer’s final season, he had given up 52 earned runs, but occasionally showed sparks that he could still be an occasional quality pitcher.
Still, Archer saw 35 years old as the right time to pivot, citing his quest to join the broadcast or front office side.
“It just comes a point in all of our career where we kind of see the writing on the wall,” Archer said. “I have a lot to learn in the game and there’s no better place for me to learn. I’m trying to get a different perspective from being a player.”
Archer prepared for this moment by developing a rare mental toughness while dealing with injuries that hindered his potential. He most recently attended Harvard Business School, learning the business of entertainment, media and sports under a heralded professor.
Along with being on broadcast or being a general manager in the future, Archer stated that he’s still open to returning to the field of play as a player or manager, he’s just trying something new.
This perspective could be beneficial to Archer as he still has time to decide on a return to baseball, all while being around it and seeing how the best of the best get better on a team like the Dodgers.
What can he do?
Through Archer’s career, baseball has changed. In his interview, he noted the change in defensive shifts, twice, in his 10-year career. Now, he has the chance to help others adjust to the changes in baseball as he will have been on both sides of it.
“There’s a lot of things that are different,” Archer said. “Just having an open mind and being creative and collaborative, I think I can come up with some good in-house solutions with the Dodgers.”
Despite typically having the best pitching staff in baseball, a mix of legal troubles and injuries led Los Angeles to have a middle-of-the-pack attack from the bump in 2023.
Many of its younger pitchers were forced to play as a result of this, but with Archer’s expertise, these younger pitchers might be able to jump out to a faster start.
The Dodgers typically house some of the best coaches in baseball, but having Archer, who is fresh out of an MLB career can add a level of trust to the pitching staff as the MLB continues to evolve.
“I do want to pour into guys,” Archer said. “(The Dodgers) are allowing me to do that and that gives me a lot of fulfillment.”