Dodgers: The Time is Now to Go After Chris Archer

ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 6: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays prepares to throw out the first pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 6, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 6: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays prepares to throw out the first pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 6, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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With the recent news of Clayton Kershaw’s back, the Dodgers cannot seem to get a break with pitching health. And with the team playing better, it is the perfect time to make a move.

Before Clayton Kershaw returned on Thursday, the Dodgers’ rotation was stellar without their ace. And he came back and allowed one run through five innings before being removed. His velocity was still very down, giving manager Dave Roberts a reason for concern and caution.

Now he is back on the DL with a lower back problem; a problem that is expected to cause him to miss over a month, according to Roberts. The Dodgers now must have a worst-case scenario mindset that they will be without their ace for the rest of the season because they have not been able to trust his health since 2016.

They need to make a move for a talented arm that can fill the southpaw’s void as much as possible. Something along the lines of a blockbuster like Chris Archer.

Now yes, his 4.29 ERA is not pretty, but Archer has always been a guy you have to look beyond the surface stats to judge. He is a career 3.68 ERA pitcher. That number is a little inflated due to his disappointing 2016 and 2017 seasons.

In 2016 he had a 4.02 ERA and last year, 4.07. However, his FIP of 3.81 and 3.40 show that he was a little unlucky. In short, FIP measures a pitcher’s run prevention ability by stripping away the defense’s impact and giving him league-average results in balls in play, because the pitcher has only so much say on how his defense performs. It takes into account strikeouts, walks, and home runs: stuff that he can control.

His FIP these two years were helped by his 10.42 and 11.5 K/9, which were aided by elite 27.4% and 29.2% strikeout percentages, respectively. This year has been disappointing in that department, but he has always had an uncanny ability to miss bats.

Also from 2014-2016, Archer had a 3.26 ERA while collecting two All-Star appearances and a fifth-place finish in CY-Young voting. He has always had the talent; it has just been a matter of consistency with him.

Which bring us to this year. He had a terrible start to the season, posting a 6.61 ERA in his first six starts. But he has done a complete 180 in May, with a 2.33 ERA in 38.1 innings. And in his last eight starts has a good 46:15 K:BB ratio.

He looks to be on the upswing. His stuff is still nasty and has its elite velocity. And he would serve as a much-needed addition. And while the Tampa Bay Rays are 28-28 and a hot team, they are ten games back in the division and six and a half back of the second wild-card spot.

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There is still a lot of baseball to be played, but Tampa is in a rebuilding phase, so if the right offer comes, they might be willing to sell to help boost their rebuild.

And if they are open to offers, the Dodgers must pounce. Archer has the pedigree and fits the mold of Dodger starters’ to miss bats at an elite rate. He adds a much-needed arm, so the team does not need to keep relying on guys like Brock Stewart to fill-in.

He can step into the ace role while Kersh is on the shelve so guys like Walker Buehler and Ross Stripling do not have to assume the pressure of fronting a rotation. And he would serve as an insurance policy for a potential departure of Clayton Kershaw this winter.

But most of all, seven letters make him a must: DURABLE. Something Dodger starters have failed to be in recent years. He has hit 200+ innings since 2015 and threw 194.2 innings in his first full season as a starter in 2014.

The price tag may be hefty for a guy with an ERA over four since the start of 2016, but it is because he has shown flashes of brilliance, especially recently, and is under team-control with a very team-friendly contract.

Next: Dodgers Quick Hits: Santana, Kemp, Trade

The Dodgers are on the upswing, as is Archer, and they need another reliable starter because they do not have one which can be a staple in the rotation (we shall see with Buehler and Stripling). If Tampa is willing to offload their start pitcher, Los Angeles must pounce.