Why did Pittsburgh Trade for Chris Archer?
It’s been nearly 24 hours, and I’m still puzzled. I don’t get why Chris Archer is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yes, the same Pittsburgh team that was under .500 to start the month of July. The same Pittsburgh team that’s six games back of the National League Central race. The same Pittsburgh team that is three games back from a crowded second spot in the Wild Card. Why did the Pirates think it was a good idea to move their top prospects for a guy like Archer? It’s very unlike the Pirates to move on something like this and maybe it’s why the fans love the deal yet it could haunt them in the end.
Giving up top tier prospects isn’t a big deal if you make something out of it. Getting to the postseason took on a new meaning with the one game Wild Card. It’s hard to really sell the idea of a successful postseason run with only one game played. You forget that team. Same goes for if you get swept right out of the playoffs unless it’s a special circumstance like the Brewers in 2008. To make this Archer deal meaningful, Pittsburgh needs to be in an National League Championship Series, or this is a complete bust. They gave up way too much talent to not be in an NLCS for either year one or year two of Archer.
Pirates giving up on prospects like Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow is a major risk for where Pittsburgh is today in the National League standings. Also with the idea of the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers going nowhere next season, they’re going to have an uphill battle. The cynic in me says the Pirates did this to keep their fanbase engaged through the remainder of the year and drive up ticket sales to their games. Pittsburgh making a big splash here rips the Steelers from getting top bill in the papers and blog posts today and the next few after. Their attendance figures sit at 26th in baseball which is down from the mid-teens in 2014 and 2015. You can’t tell me the hope for a playoffs and making more money doesn’t have something to do with this deal.
We’ll see if it works out in the end but to me, this isn’t a risk I would have taken.