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Why Archer's value is on the rise right now

Rays have potential ace up their sleeve if they decide to dangle the righty
MLB.com @jonmorosi

The Rays aren't under any pressure to trade Chris Archer, and they say they'll only do so if they love the return.

But for several reasons, a deal involving Archer is more likely now than at any point in recent memory. Most importantly, there is strong interest in the right-hander throughout the Major Leagues. One source told MLB.com that as many as eight teams have contacted the Rays about Archer recently.

The Rays aren't under any pressure to trade Chris Archer, and they say they'll only do so if they love the return.

But for several reasons, a deal involving Archer is more likely now than at any point in recent memory. Most importantly, there is strong interest in the right-hander throughout the Major Leagues. One source told MLB.com that as many as eight teams have contacted the Rays about Archer recently.

The D-backs, Cubs, Padres and Phillies are among the teams interested in Archer, and all of them had scouts in attendance for Archer's season-high 13-strikeout performance on Sunday.

Video: MIA@TB: Archer strikes out season-high 13 vs. Marlins

Sources said San Diego has refused to include Fernando Tatis Jr. or MacKenzie Gore -- its top two prospects, according to MLB Pipeline -- in any of its initial offers for Archer. But those involved with the talks believe the Padres are willing to part with one or two of the next three prospects on that list: Francisco Mejia (recently acquired from the Indians), Luis Urias and Cal Quantrill.

Archer's value ahead of Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline has been accentuated by the fact that other prominent starting pitchers on the trade market -- Noah Syndergaard of the Mets, Michael Fulmer of the Tigers, Garrett Richards of the Angels and Archer's rotation mate Blake Snell -- are on the disabled list, creating greater demand for Archer. Not to mention, the Rangers' Cole Hamels and the Blue Jays' J.A. Happ have seen their stocks drop as they've struggled in July.

Through team options, Tampa Bay can control the 29-year-old Archer through the 2021 season. While it will be difficult for the Rays to finish ahead of the dominant Red Sox and Yankees as early as next year, they expect to contend for the postseason before Archer becomes a free agent.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network. He has also covered baseball for FOX Sports, the Detroit Free Press, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer