The New York Yankees should take a flyer on Chris Archer, who could take advantage of a very analytical guy in Matt Blake.
The New York Yankees (finally) have a pretty analytical pitching coach. In order to develop well, you need your coaches to trust numbers for player development. This means the Yankees can actually do something that we envy the Rays and Astros for, turning talented pitchers back to what they were meant to be. On the market, the Yankees can snag one of these projects in Chris Archer, who was ruined by the archaic pitching coach Ray Searage who thankfully was fired. With a 4.92 ERA ever since joining the Pirates, the Yankees should try to rekindle the fire that Archer once had.
Chris Archer Was Ruined By the Sinker
He has really nasty stuff, but the issue stemmed from the Pirates pushing a sinker on him. Similar to the Yankees and Sonny Gray, Chris Archer was ruined by the Pirates. They made him throw a sinker, and it just happened to be batting practice for batters. In 2018 it was fine, but 2019 was awful. Opponents slugged .778 off of his sinker and on top of that it accounted for 24% of all home runs he gave up despite being used 10.4% of the time. He needs to be able to have strikeout stuff, not be forced into contact. This pitch was horrible, and the Pirates forced it on him, but the Yankees can undo this. Why the Yankees need a depth piece? They’re losing starters like Paxton and Tanaka in free agency most likely, and Archer can make do.
Chris Archer’s Potential
From 2017-2019 people will highlight a 4.42 ERA and leave it at that. This isn’t enough though, because when you break it down, Archer has some serious potential. Despite a 4.42 ERA, Archer had really promising peripherals. From 2017-2019 he had a 3.92 FIP, 3.69 xFIP, and 3.78 SIERA. He also had a 19.3% K-BB%, which is a really good mark for starting pitchers. Is Archer a superstar like he was from 2013-2015? No, but he has some peripherals that suggest he could still be a 3.60-3.80 ERA starter and that’s something the Yankees would love to add at a low cost.
Low Risk, High Reward
Chris Archer would be a very low-cost contract. His $11 million option was declined, so I imagine he would get around $7 million, which is around what he’d be worth if he’s average. If he’s a 3.90 ERA starter over 180 innings, the Yankees could be getting a massive steal. If he’s not that great? Well, he’d be removed from the rotation when Severino gets back. He’s not the main offseason piece for the rotation but he’d be a spectacular depth piece to add. You have a cheap contract for a high ceiling player, and you would do this without relying on him to be a major factor. Yes I know he’s not a flashy name, but production matters way more than names. You pay for what you’re getting on the field, not for their name.
This is a fallback if any player signings don’t go the Yankees’ way, and it keeps the Yankees flexible to make trades and sign players still.