Chris Archer was once an All-Star and Cy Young Award finalist. Since 2018, however, his career has seen a continuing downward trajectory.
After being traded from Tampa Bay to Pittsburgh at the 2018 trade deadline, Archer missed the entire 2020 shortened season due to surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He came back to Tampa Bay in 2021 after the Pirates declined his 2021 option, and made only 5 starts, allowing 10 earned runs over 19.1 innings for the Rays.
On Monday afternoon, Archer was signed by the Minnesota Twins to a one year, $3.5 million contract. Minnesota will provide Archer with a fresh start and an opportunity to pitch for a team that hopes to be a postseason contender.
Archer in Minnesota
Archer is 33 now so a lot more pressure hinges on his ability to pitch well for the Twins in 2022. He’s a 2x All-Star but his numbers since the 2018 don’t exactly inspire confidence. Archer is 10-18 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP over 55 starts since that season.
He’ll be joining a Twins rotation which is a big question mark at the moment. Archer should fit in as the 4 or 5 starter for Minnesota to start the season. He’ll go to work behind starters like former All-Star Sonny Gray, 25 year old rookie Joe Ryan and veteran Dylan Bundy.
This is a mutually beneficial signing as both Archer and the Twins know the score in 2022. Archer will be trying to show that he can still be that All-Star caliber pitcher he once was while the Twins hope to add a solid veteran presence and some extra consistency to their rotation this season.
Archer was once one of the biggest pitchers in baseball but things have not exactly gone his way on the diamond of late, so there will be an extra emphasis on his ability to eat innings for the Twins this season.
Depending on how the season goes for him, this is a make or break point in Archer’s career. If he can pitch well and stay healthy he’ll either be extended by the Twins or will receive additional offers next offseason.
If he can’t get back on track then this season could potentially be the nail in the coffin on Archer’s major league career.
After recently signing All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa to a 3 year deal, it’s clear that the Twins expect to be competitive in the American League Central this season.
Their division is arguably the weakest in baseball, but they’ll have tough competition in the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers.
Pitching is clearly the Twins’ biggest weakness, so they need all the help they can get. In addition to signing Archer and Gray this offseason, they’re also rumored to be interested in the Oakland Athletics’ Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea, however, so are a lot of teams.
The Twins have a solid enough corps of position players but their lack of reliability in the starting rotation could very easily be their downfall in 2022. Minnesota has a playoff losing streak they’re trying to put to rest, so their success in the AL Central is going to largely depend on new pitching additions like Gray and Archer pitching up to snuff and then some.
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