If you were like me, when you saw who the Pirates gave up in order to get Chris Archer, you were lamenting to your spouse, your best friend, your best friend's spouse, the grocery store cashier, and anyone else kind enough to let you rant. I hated this trade from the beginning. I hated the notion of trading for Chris Archer at all. Not because I didn't like him as a player, but because last season the Pirates were a below-average team on the field and a contender in the heads of the front office. They should have been sellers at the deadline, but instead they sold the farm.
If you look at that trade now, it's easy to see the Pirates missed badly. Tyler Glasnow didn't get many starts before going down with an injury, but in 9 starts this season he has a 6-1 record with an impressive 2.15 ERA AND and even more impressive 0.93 WHIP. In other words, had Glasnow stayed healthy and continued at that clip, he's probably the AL Cy Young winner.
Shane Baz struggled in his first year and a half for the Pirates before getting traded, but in his first year in single A, he's starting to show some improvement (2.99 ERA, 1.23 WHIP).
Had the Pirates only traded Glasnow and Baz, it would have been a bad deal. Archer has regressed since joining the Pirates, and he wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire for the Rays. To me, he was always one of those guys with loads of potential, great stuff, but just couldn't make it work consistently enough to be an effective starter. And, that's exactly what he's been for the Pirates. So, like I said, had the Pirates stopped with just Glasnow and Baz, they would have gotten the raw end of the deal. But, sadly they didn't. They also offered up one of the best prospects the Pirates have had in their system since Andrew McCutchen - Austin Meadows.
And all Meadows has done is to help get the Rays into playoff contention while leading them in batting average (.287), home runs (29), and RBIs (82). The Pirates could have really used those numbers in their lineup this year.
I won't be one to criticize Neil Huntington too harshly. He's made some really good moves in his tenure. Getting Kyle Crick and Brian Reynolds for Andrew McCutchen turned out to be a positive move despite its unpopularity at the time. Trading Mark Melancon for Felipe Vazquez and Taylor Hearn was downright robbery. So, Huntington has gotten some things right, but the Chris Archer trade will be one that will sting for years to come.
I know fans like to see their team do the splash deals, but sometimes doing nothing moves you further ahead. The Pirates are more reliant on their farm system than the higher-payroll contenders. So hopefully trading multiple high-end prospects for one player who "needs a change of scenery" is a thing of the past.