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MLB Trade Rumors: Dodgers, Rays Nearing Blockbuster Deal?

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The Dodgers might be much closer to landing an ace than anyone expected, with ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeting today that there’s a 70% chance Rays starter Chris Archer lands in LA.

A blockbuster deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays certainly wouldn’t be unusual given that current Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman previously worked with the American League East club. Given he only left in 2014 one would expect he would still maintain close ties with members of the organization. Friedman was also the man that brought Archer to Tampa Bay in a 2011 trade with the Chicago Cubs.

Any such rumors also are a clear indication that LA are trying to do something about their rotation, with news Clayton Kershaw may miss the remainder of the season due to a back injury he suffered earlier this month.

As of today, the Dodgers have Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Bud Norris, Brandon McCarthy and Julio Urias in their rotation. Though Maeda has an 8-7 record and 3.25 ERA in 2016, he is by no means an ‘ace’ particularly since he has made fewer than 20 major league starts in his career and is yet to experience the pressures that come with an MLB postseason campaign.

Now in his fifth big league season, 2016 has not been pleasant for Archer thus far. He leads the majors with 13 losses while also carrying a 4.60 ERA in 21 starts. Those numbers are well down from his All-Star campaign of 2015, while his hit, walk and home run per nine averages have also increased. Archer is still a strikeout machine, currently leading the American League in that category. However his 51 free passes are also the most among AL starters.

With a career 3.56 ERA in 688 innings, Archer has proven himself to be a valuable commodity and has been an important member of the Rays rotation since he broke onto the scene in 2013 after finishing the year at 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA. 

At 27, the right-hander will be under team control through 2021 by which time he would be 32 and heading towards the end of his career. Acquiring Archer for these next five years would give the Dodgers a starter at his peak value who could be paired with Kershaw and Maeda, both of whom remain contracted with the club through at least 2020.

Should LA wish to acquire the Rays ace, it seems as though they’re going to have to put together a very enticing package to make something happen.

According to reports from both Bill Chastain and Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times, the Dodgers have also shown interest in Tampa Bay starters Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore. Should the club not have enough commodities to lure Archer away from the Rays, both Odorizzi and Moore make sense as backup plans.

A former All-Star, Moore has also endured a down year in 2016 going 5-7 with a 4.33 ERA but he is a proven arm who is coming off an injury-interrupted campaign last year when he dealt with a partially torn UCL that kept him out for the first three months of the season.

He famously burst onto the scene when he started game 1 of the American League Division Series back in 2011 having not made only three regular season appearances. In that game against Texas, Moore pitched seven-innings of two-hit shutout ball which helped the Rays to a 9-0 victory.

Odorizzi meanwhile went 9-9 with a 3.35 ERA in 169.1 innings in 2015 and has backed that up with solid numbers again this season.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com