Trade talk we’re hearing: Will the Rays deal Chris Archer?

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The Tampa Bay Rays jumped into the trade deadline fray Wednesday and sent Nathan Eovaldi to the Boston Red Sox for prospect Jalen Beeks. Eovaldi is a pending free agent with overpowering stuff and a medical history that makes him the quintessential boom-or-bust deadline acquisition.

Now the question remains: Are the Rays bold enough to trade Chris Archer to a contender between now and July 31?cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

The Rays approached the deadline with a focus on moving Eovaldi and fellow short-timers Wilson Ramos, Sergio Romo, Carlos Gomez and Adeiny Hechavarria. Ramos was the clear headline piece until he suffered a pulled hamstring and went on the disabled list right after the All-Star break. But his recovery has progressed ahead of schedule, and he’s at the point where he might be ready for a minor league rehab assignment and a return to the Rays’ lineup in August. That timetable might be just quick enough to rekindle trade talks over the next few days.

The wild card in the equation is Archer, whose situation is complicated, to put it mildly. The Rays feel obligated to listen to offers because of the haul of young talent Archer would bring. But this feels like a deal more tailored for the offseason, when Erik Neander, Chaim Bloom and Tampa’s front office can assess the landscape in a less frenzied environment and entertain offers from more than just a handful of interested parties.6

Archer is a bit of a puzzle. He ranks ninth in MLB history (one spot ahead of Nolan Ryan) with an average of 9.73 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s a terrific teammate and community ambassador, and no one ever questions his competitiveness. And his contract is always cited as a reason why the Rays want to keep him and potential suitors covet him. He’s signed for $6.4 million this year and $7.7 million in 2019, with $9 million and $11 million club options for 2020 and 2021. Those are budget-friendly numbers regardless of a team’s bottom line.

But Archer hasn’t logged an ERA below 4.00 or a WAR above 2.0 since 2015, and all those swings and misses haven’t helped him attain the designation of a bona fide “ace.” Could his numbers improve in a less daunting environment than the American League East? Most evaluators accept that proposition. But Archer still isn’t at the level of CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, David Price, Justin Verlander and other starters who’ve had a big impact as midsummer trade acquisitions over the past decade.

The timing is also less than optimal. Archer just returned from an abdominal injury two weeks ago, and a National League scout estimates that he’s at about “80 percent” right now — even though Archer struck out 13 hitters and didn’t issue a walk in his last outing against the Marlins on nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

“If you’re expecting someone to save a season the way Verlander did with the Astros last year, he’s not that kind of guy,” the scout said. “He’s stubborn when it comes to pitch selection. But he’s such a good competitor, and he’s not going to leave anything out there.