Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays Agree To Six-Year, $25.5 Million Contract

Chris Archer, Joe Maddon, Jose LobatonST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a long-term contract with another of their young pitchers, signing right-hander Chris Archer to a six-year, $25.5 million deal Wednesday.

The contract includes club options for 2020 and 2021 that could raise the value to $43.75 million.

Archer, 25, went 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 23 starts as a rookie last season. He’s scheduled to make his first start of the season Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

“It’s a contract, and its guaranteed money, but I think it’s just the beginning of six or eight great years,” Archer said.

Tampa Bay has one of the deepest pitching rotations in baseball, as well as a history of signing its best young players to long-term contracts early in their careers. Left-hander Matt Moore, a 17-game winner a year ago, signed a five-year, $14 million deal after making only one regular-season start in the majors.

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Archer has the talent to “develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter,” as well as the work ethic and character off the field to ensure the Rays are making a good investment.

“It’s not only important to identify the talent of the player, but also who they are,” Friedman said. “As much as we’re betting on his talent, we’re betting on who he is, as well.”

The Rays obtained Archer from the Cubs as part of an eight-player trade that sent Matt Garza to Chicago in 2011. The new deal replaces a one-year contract agreed to in February that called for Archer to make $511,200 in the major leagues and $214,222 in the minors.

The native of Clayton, N.C., was promoted from Triple-A Durham last June 1 and went on to lead American League rookies making a minimum of 20 starts in ERA, opponents’ batting average (.226), complete games (2), shutouts (2). He finished third in balloting for rookie of the year behind Rays outfielder Wil Myers and Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias.

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