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Twins, Archer agree to one-year deal

Minnesota continues to shore up its starting rotation.

Tampa Bay Rays v Detroit Tigers
Chris Archer in action versus a rump of a Detroit Tigers player, ca. 2021.
Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins continue to make moves this off-season, this time only ten days before the team is set to start the regular season at Target Field. Thankfully, the front office continues to address the team's biggest need: pitching.

The Twins and starting pitcher Chris Archer have agreed on a one-year, $3.5m deal. The righty will help to solidify a starting rotation that looked quite questionable at the beginning of Spring Training. The deal is broken down as a $2.75m base salary for this season and a $10m mutual option for 2023 with a $750k buyout. He can earn an additional $6m in bonuses this season based on number of starts and length of work in outings.

Pre-pandemic, Archer was quite effective and valued. (I'll admit that I definitely wanted him on the Twins many times.) The two-time All-Star put up a 3.71 ERA/3.66 FIP in eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, eventually striking out batters at a clip of 11.1 K/9 in his last full season with the team in 2017. After being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018, he didn't care quite as well, posting a 4.92 ERA/4.71 FIP in 172 innings between '18 and '19.

However, the 33-year-old has been dealing with injuries the past two seasons. 2020 was a bust after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome (the same thing where Phil Hughes had ribs removed and made into a necklace). He and the Rays reunited for last season, but only pitched in six games (five starts) due to forearm and hip injuries. Although it is a small sample size of 19.1 innings, he still managed to turn in a 9.8 K/9 for Tampa Bay last season.

The Twins are making a high-reward, low-risk type signing here with Archer while installing a much-needed proven, veteran presence into a rotation that needed one more arm. There’s very little concern that Archer won’t be ready for the regular season as, according to Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic, he’s been throwing and ramping up in Arizona all spring. In fact, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports that Archer is already in camp and ready to go.

To make room for the new righty, the Twins have outrighted southpaw Lewis Thorpe to AAA St Paul. The Aussie was out of minor-league options and has already passed through waivers unclaimed. He posted a 6.46 RA9 in 15.1 innings of work last season and is a possible option for long relief or a spot-start in case something goes array with the pitching staff, and we know it will, right?!

Welcome to Minnesota, Archer! (Are we still doing “phrasing”?)