The Twins missed out on signing Yu Darvish this weekend, when the best free agent pitcher around reportedly decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs. But Minnesota still could add a top-of-the-rotation starter.
The Twins made a trade offer as recently as 2 weeks ago to the Rays for ace Chris Archer, according to a report from the Star Tribune. The report also says that the Twins are “exploring trades with multiple teams,” and of course they’re still eyeing starting pitchers in free agency.
According to that report from La Velle Neal, the Rays have “some interest” in Max Kepler. Kepler has 5 years of team control left, and the young outfielder has shown plenty of promise, but struggled badly against left-handed pitchers last season.
Archer has 4 years of team control left on a contract that will pay him less than $34 million in total base salary. On top of that, Archer is a great pitcher and is younger than the 3 best remaining starting pitchers in free agency — Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. Those factors should combine to make Tampa Bay’s asking price incredibly high for any Archer trade talks to gain traction. Then again, the clear tanking strategy being employed by some teams around the league could potentially limit the number of teams that would be interested in such a trade for Archer.
Still, the guess here is that it would take a great deal more than Kepler — probably at least two good prospects — to make that swap worth considering for the Rays.