From seemingly nowhere an announcement came from the Pirates today.
Pittsburgh Pirates “Yesterday, Chris Archer underwent surgery to relieve symptoms of neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. Archer is projected to return to full competition for the 2021 season.”
So, what does this mean? Essentially, it is a network of nerves that flow from the spinal cord and directly affect the sensations felt in the arms and hands. Sounds kinda important for a pitcher, no? Now, we aren’t without precedent, Nick Burdi, he of the triple digit radar readings seen this Spring too just dealt with this affliction.
I wonder if we’ll ever know how long this has been an issue for Chris, and honestly it hardly matters. What this is plainly happens to be the end of any hope this trade would become anything resembling passable.
Many will say that happened the minute the trade was consummated sending Baz, Glasnow and Meadows to Tampa for the veteran arm, but had he come up big this season and thereby forced the Pirates to pick up his 11 Million dollar option for 2021 he could have at least netted some nice prospects. Today that seems extremely unlikely.
It wasn’t long ago I felt for that very reason his option in 2021 was close to a no brainer. This is all but a death nail in the train of thought that returns anything of value for three big assets.
None of this is Ben Cherrington’s fault of course, he inherited the situation, but many wanted to see him address the situation this past off-season. Maybe he never found a suitor, perhaps he over valued Archer, I pray he didn’t think he was going to get a new coach and become a Cy Young finalist. Regardless of why the Pirates didn’t move him, bottom line, we are where we are.
There is no way to sugar coat this. Bad trade and we’ll be watching the other end enjoy the fruits of fleecing Neal Huntington for years to come. The guy has been fired, so seeking justice is fairly futile at this point, we simply must hope we now have a GM who first of all wouldn’t have made this trade, but also is able to do the same to another club.
When this trade went down, it was a welcome departure from the norm for many Pirates fans, some even felt it was the first example in far too long of the club trying to win now. Over valuing prospects was a trademark of the Huntington regime and finally he was going for it right now. I won’t lie, I was one of them. I was ready to call it quits on Glasnow, irritated that Meadows was included since I felt he was never given a real chance to get a foothold here and beside myself that Baz was somehow a throw in, but overall, felt it was the cost of doing business, even if a heavy price.
It’s clear now, that was wrong in every way it could be. The flip side of the coin happened this Summer, when Cherrington moved Starling Marte for two high ceiling prospects. Given the state of MLB at the moment, who knows if Arizona will get even half a season out of the former Pirate’s star outfielder, but the Bucs are sure to reap at least some reward between the two returned assets.
If Chris is somehow deemed a reasonable risk for 2021, and lord knows they’ll have the payroll capital, his return could be severely compromised. Even that is assuming he performs well.
Its obvious Archer’s performance has underwhelmed here in Pittsburgh on the field, but it’s worth pointing out too what a great guy he has been off the field and in our community. The business of baseball comes first surely, but too often we overlook the real contributions made by men like this and I for one, should this be the last we see of Chris in the Burgh, want to make sure I clearly and loudly say thank you.
Back to this season if we may, because should baseball happen the rotation just took a huge hit. The Pirates are left with Joe Musgrove as the unquestioned “ace” of the staff, with Mitch Keller, Steven Brault, Trevor Williams and some combination of Derek Holland/Chad Kuhl/Brubaker, or the like. Again, anything is possible in a shortened season, but I’d at least like the comfort of someone with more than a season or two of pedigree.
Strange days continue, at least the Pirates being bitten by long term IR is here to bring some normalcy to the community.