3. Mallex Smith for Chris Archer
Man, do we write a lot about Chris Archer or what? But the pro’s for trading for Archer is pretty obvious at this point. A former #2 starter coming off a bad year for a rebuilding team with a brand new management team, with just 2-years of club control but at a potential bargain salary for each season? I mean, I’d almost be surprised if Archer wasn’t traded.
There is a lot of risk in this deal. Mallex Smith is just one season removed from a 4 win season but struggled mightily in his first season in Seattle. But still, Smith has 3-years of club control and is just 26-years-old.
Meanwhile, Archer is 31-years-old and coming off the worse season of his career. However, there are reasons for optimism. Archer exceeded his career norms for strikeouts and getting swings and misses at pitches in the zone. His average fastball velo dropped slightly, but still sat at 94 MPH.
And of course, there is the Ray Searage impact. The Pirates are well known for making their starters throw more fastballs/sinkers than any other team in baseball. Archer’s worst pitch, by a mile, was his sinker, so a simple change in pitch mix could lead to better results.
Seattle will need to decide if they think they can help Archer, and therefore themselves, reach the well-above-average starter he was for 5 straight seasons. If they do, giving up an outfielder, even one as potentially useful as Smith, shouldn’t slow them down.
Archer’s market is a bit unknown, but with the super friendly team deal, Pittsburgh could simply keep him and try to dangle him in July if they can get him back on track. So any team coming to Pittsburgh will have to bring a quality offer. And with a strong likelihood that both Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco are dealt this winter, adding the speedy Smith should at least catch the interest of the Pirates.