This one might be the most obvious one because Archer’s name has been floating around trade rumors for a while now and Andrew Friedman’s connection to Tampa Bay isn’t a secret.
From 2013-2015 Archer had a 3.26 ERA in 535.1 innings and 526 strikeouts. 2015 was his best season yet and put him on the verge of become a top-tier pitcher. He threw 212 innings and compiled a 3.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and an absurd 252 strikeouts (10.7 K/9).
However, last season he took a step back with a 4.02 ERA in 201.1 innings. However, he still had an elite 10.4 K/9. If you take a closer look at his 2016 season, you’d see that he returned to form in the second-half of the season. In his 13 starts (84 innings) after the All-Star Game, he posted a 3.11 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 97 strikeouts.
This season he has built off his strong finish from 2016. In the 20.1 innings he’s pitched he has a 2.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts. He has done all this in the tough AL East which makes it even more impressive. To put it shortly: Chris Archer is straight filth.
Imagine what would happen if he comes to a pitcher’s park like Dodger Stadium with a good defense behind him and doesn’t have to carry the pressure of being the man.
Archer would probably cost the most in terms of prospect return, compared to anyone else on this list, because of his age, talent, health history, and uber-friendly contract. The Dodgers have the prospects to get him, but the Rays would expect a huge offer.
Archer may be the perfect compliment to Kershaw because he is right-handed, supremely talented, doesn’t carry a huge contract, like the Dodgers’ ace has one of the best sliders in baseball (possibly the best), and just happens to be just six months younger than Kershaw. That one-two punch would arguably become the best pitching duo in baseball.
Because of Archer’s age, small financial commitment, and Los Angeles’ sense of urgency to win now, anything can happen with this front office known for holding onto its elite prospects. It’s doubtful that a trade happenes, but never say never.