6:47 p.m.: Minnesota announced the deal. To create space for Archer on the 40-man roster, the club went downright left-handed. Lewis Thorpe.
6:19 p.m.: Archer’s deal has a base salary of $2.75 million with a $750,000 buyout on the mutual option, Passan addsHis incentives are based on starts or games with at least three innings pitched, presumably to give Archer credit for “relief” outings after a first game.
6:15 p.m.: The Twins are okay with choke Chris Archer on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports (Twitter linkArcher can earn up to $9.5 million through performance bonuses. The deal also contains a $10 million mutual option for 2023, MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park reports (on Twitter).
Archer has barely pitched the past two seasons due to injury. He missed the entire shortened 2020 campaign after undergoing surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. Bought the Pirates after that season, signed a one-year contract with the Rays but was limited to 19 1/3 innings in his second stint at Tampa Bay. The right-hander found himself on the injured list after just two appearances due to a stiff forearm. While initially hoped it would be a brief stint, it kept him out of action He made four appearances at the end of the year on his return, but problems with his left hip sent him back to the ‘IL for an end-of-season visit.
The recent lack of volume has been a new problem for Archer, who was a durable and highly productive arm early in his career. He topped 115 innings each year between 2013 and 2019, including three consecutive 200 inning seasons with the Rays between 2015 and 17. Archer earned All-Star selections in two of those campaigns and landed a fifth-place finish in voting for the AL Cy Young award during a 2015 campaign in which he posted an ERA of 3.23 and a SIERA of 3.08.
Archer was a high-end arm on his best days in Tampa, combining a 3.66 ERA with a strong 26.7% strikeout rate between 2014 and 2017. The Rays returned him to the Pirates before the 2018 trade deadline, a now infamous deal that saw Pittsburgh go their separate ways Austin Meadows, Tyler Glassnow and Shane Baz to regain three and a half years of club control over Archer. Unfortunately for the Bucs, this deal seemed regrettable almost from the start. Archer’s production slipped early in his Pittsburgh tenure, and the team didn’t get a single run from Archer during the 2020-21 affordable club options that had earned him such an attractive target for the club. in 2018.
It has been three years since Archer has been a productive member of the rotation. He’s now 33, and the mid-’90s speed he sported during his best days didn’t reappear in his brief return from TOS last year. Archer has averaged just 92 mph on his four-seam fastball after sitting in the 94-96 MPH range his entire career before.
The low, incentive structure of the deal reflects both Archer’s decent upside and his three straight seasons. If he remains healthy and establishes himself as a reliable rotational member, he will have a chance to earn comparable salaries as back-end starters like Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heane If he is again struggling with an injury, the club’s financial investment will be more minimal.