Ask Gary: Might Maddon covet the Rays’ Archer?

by Gary Shelton on September 23, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

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Saturday, 4 a.m.

Joe Madden made a lot of nice comments after the game on Tuesday about Chris Archer both as a pitcher and a person. He made some interesting remarks about how Archer would be so much more effective in a larger “urban” market with regard to his off the field work. It just so happens that Chicago is that type of market. What great timing because at the same time Archer was sounding very frustrated with this market and the lack of fan support. We all know Joe is a smart guy. Do you think he may have had a conversation with Archer and picked up on his frustration so was sending a not so subtle message to the Rays that they should be thinking about a trade with the Cubs this off season? After all he knows Archer’s salary is in the range where the Rays usually are looking to trade for cheaper, younger talent

Larry Beller

Larry, I would imagine that every time a manager sees a guy with great stuff and average results, he wonders what he could do with him. Joe's no different. But over the time I covered him,  Joe  had nice things to say about a lot of guys. For instance, he raved about David Ortiz, and there was no way Ortiz was ever going to play for the Rays.

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But, no, I don't think that was the heart of Maddon's intent. Joe cares about off-the-field by players, and I think he was being open about his admiration of Archer. Don't forget, Joe still lives here. Archer makes the community better.

Does that mean that Maddon doesn't toy with the idea of Archer on his team? Of course not. I think most managers would.

Remember, Maddon doesn't handle the trades for the Cubs. Joe would be asked his opinion, but it's Theo Epstein who would have to make the trade for Archer. And with cost certainty, I'm sure the Cubs would have to give up a lot. That's why most trades don't happen. A team just waits for a guy to become available as a free agent.

If I'm the Rays, on the other hand, I think about what an Archer trade could bring. I might mention that he could be had at the right place. I don't think the team has a great deal of untouchables. Maybe Keven Kiermaier, but that's about it.  Everyone else is the start of a conversation.

When teams trade with the Rays, though, they don't offer as much as they would if it was a possibility that Tampa Bay wouldn't be bartering that player just to get rid of his contract.

I think Joe is right. In a bigger city, some of Archer's admirable programs would attract more followers. The nights he's pitching, too. But that doesn't mean the Rays simply hand him over.

By the way, I was there when Archer expressed his frustration with how many Cub fans were there. He didn't say a word about the local crowd. I explained to him how the  fans of the Packers used to dominate their games, and someone else brought up the Blackhawks vs. the Lightning. I don't always agree with everything Archer says, but I thought he expressed his frustrations fairly well this time.

The two week-night games of Cubs vs Rays drew about 25,000 fans each night at the Trop this week.  Why the upsurge vs typical week night attendance of about 12,000?

Scott Myers

A few reasons, Scott. One is that the Cubs are an iconic team that doesn't get to the Trop often. I don't know any Mariners fans or any Astros fans, but I'm always bumping into Cubs fans. They're everywhere.

The second part is that Joe Maddon came home. Joe touched a lot of fans when he was here, and I'm sure his return was good for a number of fans.

The third is simple. The Cubs won the World Series last year. If there was ever a reason for a front-runner, this was it. That's a fine club over there.

The fourth is that the Tampa Bay area was populated by a lot of people from the midwest (Miami, on the other hand, seemed to get more people from the New York area). That was the Bucs' theory in the Hugh Culverhouse years.

The most logical thing to think is that it's some of all of it. Good team, good tradition, good recent history, good ex-manager of the Rays.  What's not to like?

If you had the power to make one change to each of the major sports, what would those changes be to improve each sport?

Jim Willson

Interesting question, Jim. And I'm sure the commissioners of pro sports can't wait to hear what I suggest.

Seriously, I have thought about it, and the one thing I think that most sports need is this: Space. I just think players have gotten too fast for the surfaces they play on. I'd make an NFL field wider. I'd make a hockey area bigger. I'd make an NBA court bigger. That gives the defenses more area to cover, and as a result, helps the offenses.

In the NFL, I'd copy the Canadian League and make the end zones 20 yards instead of 10. That means receivers would have more room to work with, and defensive backs couldn't use the boundaries as their friends.

In hockey, I'd make the surface bigger. I've seen the Olympics, where the size is greater, and players seem to find space more often. Something else that Phil Esposito has told me several times is that he'd like to see the size of goalie equipment enforced. Some of those guys have padding that is just ridiculous.

In baseball, where home teams define playing area as far as the depth of the outfield fences, I'd probably leave it alone. I might have a red card for umpires, however. If you have so many calls overturned, wham, you're out of the next series.

Also, there is this. If the NFL is going to employ 53 guys per roster, why not use them all on Sunday. If you want to say that the bottom seven have to play under entry-level contracts, fine. But it makes no sense to pay an employee you can't use.

Also, there is this. I love the penalty box. Maybe if there was arena baseball, or arena basketball, you could try it. Have to face two batters while you had only two outfielders. Or three men in the secondary. It would be fun. But the change would be too radical for the big leagues.

What kind of grade would you give to the Rays for this season's major roster changes (feel free to include Matt Duffy!)?
 
Barry McDowell​
Barry, I think you would get a lot of different grades. A manager's grade. A bullpen's grade. The starting pitching's grades. The hitting grades. The front offices grades.
If you're talking about one overall grade for the Rays, I'm going to give them a C+. They kept it interesting most of the year, but not all of it. It seems to me that winning the divison championship is a B, and going deep into the playoffs is an A. So that leaves a C with details.
I give the Rays credit for their moves at the trade deadline, but the team might have waited too long to shore up the bullpen. The hitting was better, but there were nights when they forgot which end to hold. The starting pitching faltered.
I love, love, love the team's acquisiton of Adeiny Hechavarria. But the loss of a hitting touch by Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison came at the wrong time.
I'd give the manager a B. The bullpen (post-trading deadline) an A. (pre-deadline would be an F). I'd give the hitting a C. I'd give Matt Duffy, and whoever came up with notion of Matt Duffy, Fs. I'd give Brad Miller an F, and the decision to give away Tim Beckham an F.
Remember the disappointment you felt when your kid brought home a C+? That's kind of how I feel about the Rays.
As for Duffy, what grade do you give a guy who never showed up for class?

Who stays and who goes - Archer or Cobb -- or both or neither?

Scott Myers

I think Cobb goes. I hate it, because I like his competitive spirit. But Cobb had a decent year that promises to get better, and some team will be willing to pay for that. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I want Cobb to go; I just don't think the team will pay enough to keep him.

As for Archer, I think a lot of teams will kick the tires. He still has the great stuff, even if his bottom line isn't what it should be. Eventually, Archer will have to go, and you don't want the team to be hostage so much that they get no more than they got for David Price for him.

In the end, I don't think teams are going to offer quite enough. If you're the Rays, and you envision a rotation with Archer-Odorizzi-Snell-Faria-and-Andriese, you've got a good place to start. You could even let Austin Pruitt compete for that last slot.

There are going to be changes. Morrison's contract is up. Duda's, too. Souza and Hechavarria are headed to arbitration. So if the Rays can go in with solid rotation in order, I think things are promising. But it's hard to feel good if both Archer and Cobb are gone, isn't it?

 

 

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