ST. PETERSBURG -- With a large congregation of scouts watching, Chris Archer validated their presence with a 13-strikeout performance in the Rays' 6-4 walk-off win against the Marlins Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Trade talk is rampant as Major League Baseball's July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. Contending teams are perusing the rosters of non-contending teams hoping to find that piece that might push them over the top. Archer could be such a piece.
At least a dozen scouts were parked behind home plate to watch Archer on Sunday, including representatives from contenders such as the D-backs, Dodgers, Braves, Indians and Yankees. Of that group, the Yankees are said to be in on Archer, or perhaps Nathan Eovaldi, who once pitched for the Yankees. Helping to fuel that speculation was the fact that Rays representatives have been spotted at recent Yankees rookie league games.
If anything, Archer's price went up on Sunday. The right-hander looked dominant during his six-inning stint. He struck out the Marlins in order on 15 pitches in the first. After experiencing a hiccup in the second when he allowed four runs (three earned), he returned to pitch the third needing just seven pitches to retire the side, two by strikeout.
Archer finished his six innings with no walks and notched his season high for strikeouts. His career high for strikeouts in a single game is 15, and that came on June 2, 2015 against the Angels in Anaheim.
Nobody knows whether a trade will come to fruition at this point, but adding to Archer's trade value is his team-friendly contract (just $27.5 million for the next three seasons). When asked about the possibility that he might have pitched his final game in a Rays uniform, Archer acknowledged that the thought had "crossed his mind."
"That it could at least be my last home start," Archer said. "I don't want to think about it too much, because dwelling on something that hasn't happened is not smart.
"It crossed my mind, but I'm focused on being here. We have another week [before the Trade Deadline]. I have another start. So all I'll focus on now is getting some rest and pitching in five days."