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Phillies Hot Stove: Club Scouted, Interested in Rays’ Archer

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Despite their starting rotation posting the third-best WAR (11.5) this season, the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly eyeing to upgrade their starting rotation to help clinch one of five postseason spots in the National League in the first season under manager Gabe Kapler.

The Phillies were reportedly among four teams to scout Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer in his season-high 13-strikeout outing on Sunday, home against the Miami Marlins, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres were reportedly the other teams with representatives in attendance at Tropicana Field, although there are "as many as eight teams" to have recently contacted the Rays regarding Archer.

Given their Sunday attendance, the Phillies are likely among those teams interested, but it would contradict general manager Matt Klentak's comments last Friday, in which he said the Phillies are "very encouraged" about their current rotation arms, and are "hopeful" to "stay out of the starting pitcher trade market at the deadline."

Archer, 29, is a two-time All-Star who finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year Award race in 2013, and fifth in the American League Cy Young Award race in 2015. The seven-year veteran led all of baseball in starts in 2015 and 2017, both of which were his All-Star seasons.

This season, the Raleigh, North Carolina, native is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA, 99-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.378 WHIP spanning 16 starts and 90 innings.

Archer is set to earn a club-friendly $7.67 million next season. In 2020, the right-hander has a $9 million team option or a $1.75 million buyout, followed by a $11 million team option or a $250,000 buyout in 2021.

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