Chris Archer becomes free agent after Pittsburgh Pirates decline $11 million option

Sunil Kumar

PITTSBURGH — Chris Archer‘s $11 million option for 2021 has been declined by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 32-year-old right-hander is now a free agent.

Archer will receive a $250,000 buyout, completing a contract he agreed to with the Tampa Bay Rays in April 2014. The deal originally guaranteed $25.5 million over six seasons and included a $9 million club option for 2020 that the Pirates exercised.

Archer was a two-time All-Star with the Rays, then was traded to the Pirates on July 31, 2018, for right-hander Tyler Glasnow, outfielder Austin Meadows and a player to be named, who later became minor league right-hander Shane Baz.

Archer disappointed with the Pirates, going 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA in 33 starts, including 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA in 2019. Glasnow and Meadows became important players who helped the Rays reach the World Series this year for the first time since 2008.

Archer reported discomfort in the neck/shoulder area on his right side shortly before spring training was stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic and had season-ending surgery on June 2 with Dr. Robert Thompson to relieve symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. Archer’s prorated pay in the pandemic-shortened season was reduced to $3,333,333.

In his big league career, Archer is 60-80 with a 3.86 ERA in 210 starts and two relief appearances. His average fastball velocity dropped from 95.75 mph in 2017 to 93.30 mph in 2019.

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