The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Wednesday that starting pitcher Chris Archer is out for the season.
Archer is undergoing surgery to relieve symptoms of neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome and won’t pitch during the 2020 campaign.
The good news is, Archer is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to pitch in 2021. Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association have not come to an agreement for the 2020 season, so Archer might not miss any action at all.
Is Archer’s Career In Jeopardy?
The 31-year-old starter was traded to the Pirates in July of the 2018 season. The Tampa Bay Rays acquired Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz in exchange for Archer. That is quite a lot of talent to give up, but Archer was expected to be an ace in Pittsburgh.
Sadly, that was not the case as Archer went 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA through 23 starts with the Pirates last season. He gave up 25 home runs through 119.2 innings, which is never something you want to see from someone who is supposed to be your ace pitcher.
Prior to being traded, Archer was a successful and reliable MLB starter. The two-time All-Star went 54-68 with a 3.69 ERA through 179 games (177 starts) with the Rays. Archer had one of the best sliders in the league, but has not finished a season with an ERA under 4.00 since the 2015 season.
A return to old form seems unlikely for Archer in the future. Many pitchers struggle to bounce back after undergoing thoracic outlet syndrome-related surgery. Starting pitcher Matt Harvey has not been the same pitcher since undergoing surgery.
The Pirates hold a team option for Archer which would pay him $11 million for the 2021 season. The organization may decide to take the $250,000 buyout instead. He has struggled heavily each of the last two seasons.
The Pirates are a rebuilding organization and might not want to commit that much money to a pitcher coming off surgery. It’s unlikely that many organizations would be interested in signing a struggling pitcher coming off major surgery. However, we’ll have to wait and see what happens after the 2020 season.